The other day I started to think about how easily Christians are influenced. We don’t just live in the culture but we are, by every indication, being discipled by it. I wouldn’t imagine this is intentional, as I can’t fathom a Christian wanting to follow the waves of the culture rather than the firm foundation of Scripture.
I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying: Be in the world, not of the world. This is true. It echoes the directive given in Romans 12:2, which says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Don’t be conformed, but transformed. We want to be a part of society, but not like society.
Admitting There’s a War
But first, we must come to grips with something. Many people may deny that society has any influence on their decisions or how they go about their days. Make no mistake: each day you wake up, the culture is tugging at your heart to follow it rather than Christ. And many days we follow the culture, unfortunately so.
If we do not admit that our hearts are “prone to wander” to the culture, then we will never understand the brevity of what is happening. We are in the middle of the fight and we can’t seem to look up to notice punches being thrown. We are hit left and right by the enticing pleasures of culture and, many times, we succumb to them because our eyes aren’t on Jesus.
Fix Your Eyes in Christ!
In Colossians 3:2, we are told to keep our minds on heavenly things. I wrote about that here more extensively. But do we understand the implications? This command doesn’t exist in a vacuum; it knows that you have competing affections that grip your heart each day. You have to make the intentional decision to purse Christ instead of the culture.
It is so easy to be inundated with different things from society, whether it be social media, streaming services, and sports. Every way we turn there is something there to take our eyes off Christ.
This all brings up a question: What’s wrong consuming what the culture gives? In short, there’s nothing wrong with it unless what you’re consuming is in direct opposition to God’s Word. It’s what we do with it that is the issue.
Does it Help you Run?
I once heard a sermon snippet from John Piper (you can listen to it here) where he tells us to ask the right question. The right question is not, “Is it a sin?” but rather, “Does it help me run?”
Piper goes on to say that asking if it’s sin is somewhat of a low question. I think he has a good thought here because something that isn’t necessarily sinful can still “entangle” you, as Hebrews 12:1 states.
Starting your day by mindlessly scrolling through your social media apps may not be sinful, but does it help you run?
Watching a crazy amount of Netflix may not be sinful, but does it help you run?
Constantly being “in the know” on every political situation may not be sinful, but does it help you run?
You see, our standard needs to be higher than “Is it a sin?” It needs to be, “Will this benefit my walk with Christ?”
In the End, Glorify God
Don’t get me wrong, I know there’s a lot of nuance there. When it’s not strictly laid out in Scripture, go with your conscience. If you’re faithfully following the Lord, He will direct your conscience.
But what is important is this: don’t be tossed to and fro by the waves of the culture. Society is not neutral; entertainment is not neutral. To say they are is a lie. We must be on guard against everything and it’s imperative to stay close to Jesus.
In the end, what we all should want is to glorify God in our lives. Understand that the world is not our home; we are citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20). Let us look at each day with a gospel-lense and seek to honor Jesus in everything we do. Be determined to be disciples of Jesus rather than disciples of the culture.