Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Living in this world but not being of it

My great-uncle Joe, known at Mercer University as Papa Joe, first introduced me to this idea that Christians are called to live in this world but not be of it. I had Joe for two classes at Mercer, and he was always challenging my way of thinking and pushing me to become a better and more thoughtful citizen and Christian. At the time, however, I wasn't really a Christian. I was still trying to logically work out what I believed.

Now that I am a Christian, I've given the notion that Christians should not conform to our culture a lot of thought. The oddest thing made me think about this issue. I was having my highlights touched up, and my hairdresser and I discussed the Asian "spas" which are basically places of prostitution and can be found throughout Macon. Lamar, an advertising company, sells billboard space to these spas. And I wondered if a Christian owned the company.

Since that conversation I have been thinking about the ways that I am "of" our culture. As I grow in my relationship with God, I see more and more ways that I want to change. For example, two summers ago I loved the show Nip/Tuck. I watched it every night on F/X. Once I started working on my thought life and obedience to God in the context of sexual morality, I found that that show made it very difficult to not think about sex.

When I examined the way my family was celebrating Christmas, I realized that we had bought into this secular/consumeristic version of Christmas. We didn't even talk about God or Jesus's birth and instead focused on buying gifts for everyone. I'm happy to say that we've cut back a lot on the gift giving, and more of my family attended the Christmas Eve service with me this year. I also felt better about the gifts I gave as I gave my niece a "date" with me to the pottery place and a really cool illustrated children's Bible.

While I know that growing as a Christian is a process, it's amazing to me how many non-Godly ways of thinking I still have. Just in the way I initially respond to different situations is almost always a worldly response based on non-Biblical principles and beliefs. It's also amazing to me how, statistically, Christians look very much the same as non-Christians. For example, the percentages of Christians who have premarital sex or get divorces doesn't really vary much from the percentages of non-Christians who do the same.

I have so many more thoughts about this, but I'm at work! I'm curious to read others' thoughts and ideas about these issues as they've been weighing on my mind a lot lately.

1 comment:

spam_price said...

I think that the number 1 thing that sets us apart from the rest of the world or at least should be is that Christians are called to completely deny ourselves. We are to focus our lives on Christ and the needs of others; walking the line – taking up our Cross in preparation for death unto ourselves.

A recent sermon I heard said this, “Losing the battle for the hearts and souls of this generation won't be because of the pornographers, abortionists and the homosexuals. It's gonna be because those that bear the name of Christ have done what the Apostle Paul told us not to do and became conformed to this world, we are unwilling to deny ourselves and take up our Cross. And the world cannot discern any difference between the average Christian and the average non-Christian.

We must be set apart not only by our actions, but by our attitudes of joy in the service of our Savior no matter how He calls us into that service.

Of course that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.