Tuesday, September 04, 2007

In the World or of It?

I am not sure why, but recently I really feel led to pull myself and my little children out away from today's culture. I think that having some cultural influence is unavoidable and should be expected, for instance using the technologies of today is an aspect of our culture that is generally unavoidable and not inherently bad. We are fortunate to have electricity, cell phones, internet, and transportation, and a world of information at our fingertips.
The rest of today's culture is not all good- there are so many societal influences on our children- from their playmates to even a simple McDonald's Happy Meal toy. How can our children be different than the world when all they know is the world? When we feed them tv, movies, video games, magazines, and allow them to have friends that are no different than the rest of the world, how can we expect that they should grow to be anything different than what they see and are confronted with on a daily basis?
The real question is how do we balance being in the world but not of the world? When we have little children that can't see the difference between ourselves and others, how will they come to view Christianity? As something we do as an extracurricular activity on Sundays? As some type of volunteer activity that involves the whole family?
I have had friends throughout my life who were in very "Christian" homes but their friends and activities weren't any different than those who were not "Christians." They were still allowed to date and go to movies and wear the trends, but those "Christian" friends were the ones who seemed to move away from God when they were given independence. They were no different than the rest of the world at that point because they had always desired to be like everyone else- the people they were around.
I used to think that separating children from the world (their world being school or other outside extracurricular activities) was a real mistake because it would cause them to not fit in and generally just not know how to interact with people (thus they would not be able to effectively witness). I have come to realize as I grow older that I had fallen prey to Satan's favorite lie- that fitting in with everyone else is good and being different is not cool.
The older I get, the more I grow in Christ, the more I realize that I was never supposed to fit in. I am not supposed to be "normal" or accepted by the rest of the world (which includes many of today's Christians). God speaks to this so much in His Word. Jesus spent so much of His time telling us to be different. To forgive others when you have the "right" not to. To turn the other cheek. To die for someone else. To love our enemies. The world says you have a right to.... and Jesus says give up your rights for my sake.
If we look and sound and do things like everyone else, how would anyone know we were different? How can our lights shine if we just want to be dark like the rest of the world?
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2
And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. John 17:13-18

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