Thursday, October 8, 2015

When Culture and Truth Collide

Christians are supposed to be counter-cultural. As our nation and world (at least parts of it-let's not be so America-centric) drift further from the Bible we are going to stick out more and more. Our ideas, character, motives, and lifestyle should be notedly different from our unsaved neighbors. We must realize when we are hearing truth and when we are hearing popular ideas that masquerade as truth. 

Today I only want to talk about two slogans. Partly because they are so popular and partly because these affect our lives daily.

The first one is this- "Do what you love." I recognize that most people are saying to pursue a job or a career that you love. That's not necessarily bad if you are privileged to do that. Sometimes though you just need to pay the bills and put food on the table. 

To be honest, I do a lot of things every day that I don't just love doing. Ever potty-trained anyone? Not a love. And while I've cultivated a good attitude about housework (most of the time anyway) I don't just love washing dishes or doing the laundry. I don't just love getting out of bed every morning or going grocery shopping in the rain with three children. 

So what's the antidote? What do we pursue if it's not just doing what we love? 

Instead of doing what we love we need to do what needs to be done. Then learn to love that. Goethe said, "Cease endlessly striving for what you would like to do and learn to love what must be done."   That's not a topic applauded in our world. Ephesians 2:10 says that we are "created in Christ Jesus unto good works." And  1 Timothy 5:10 gives a list that ends with "every good work." That list includes things like washing the saints' feet and bringing up children just in case you thought that work didn't qualify. 

I spend my days doing things that I'm learning to love. Or at the very least learning to love for what they do for my character and my family. It often helps to look at the results of the work or the reason for the work instead of the effort of the work. 

I'm learning to love getting up at night with babies. I'm thankful for them and that's just part of it. I'm learning to love training my boys because the results are going to be men of character (I hope.)

Sure that's a time to pursue what you love. But there are plenty more times to knuckle down and do what needs to be done. 

There's another saying that is just as dangerous to our lives. I cringe when I hear it (but that's it; I really don't lecture people in person regardless of what I say here). You've heard it too- "Follow your heart." Really? In some ways this is just another way of saying, "Do what you love." Pursue what you're interested in; consider no one besides yourself. This is erroneous advice. 

Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Our hearts are the last thing we should follow. I don't want to look for guidance on the inside of me because I know what I am. And you know what you are. 

We don't need to look deep inside us for truth because it's not there. We don't need to examine our hearts and use that as an excuse for flitting through life committing to nothing. We don't need to use our flighty emotions as reasons for abandoning our families, hurting the feelings of others, and ignoring our responsibilities. 

Don't worry; there's an antidote here too. Instead of following our hearts we should follow the Bible. I guess that's not as catchy of a phrase; you probably won't see that one waved around on the banner. But what if we tried it? What if instead of doing whatever our heart wanted to- whatever felt good- we did what the Bible said to? How much trouble would that save us? 

How much sin would we leave behind if we made the Bible our standard? We might even cast off a few things that aren't sin but that hold us back from fully serving God. Doesn't He deserve that from us? 

Not sure you believe me? We can evaluate our hearts quickly. Matthew 12:34 states: "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." That's enough to tell me that my heart is not what I want to follow. But if you still need more convincing try this one. Proverbs 23:7, "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:" You might have cleaned up your speech but I doubt anyone has cleaned up their thoughts enough to be impressed with themselves. 

We know what we are. We know our hearts will not lead us to truth. Let's depend on the Bible to show us the way instead. Psalm 119:105 says, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." God gave us His Word to show us how to live. Let's not bumble along on our own. 

We don't have to accept the world's slogans as truth. We do need to be able to evaluate what's being said in the light of Scripture.

What other popular sayings would you add to this list? How do you remember the truth when you are faced with lies?  

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