I was astonished that although I now loved You… I did not persist in enjoyment of my God. Your beauty drew me to You, but soon I was dragged away from You by my own weight and in dismay, I plunged again into the things of this world… as though I had sensed the fragrance of the fare but was not yet able to eat it.
It is a most lamentable thing to see how most people spend their time and their energy for trifles, while God is cast aside. He who is all seems to them as nothing, and that which is nothing seems to them as good as all. It is lamentable indeed, knowing that God has set mankind in such a race where heaven or hell is their certain end, that they should sit down and loiter, or run after the childish toys of the world, forgetting the prize they should run for. Were it but possible for one of us to see this business as the all-seeing God does, and see what most men and women in the world are interested in and what they are doing every day, it would be the saddest sight imaginable. Oh, how we should marvel at their madness and lament their self-delusion! If God had never told them what they were sent into the world to do, or what was before them in another world, then there would have been some excuse. But it is His sealed word, and they profess to believe it.
We’re Christians, yes. But we also want to have our part of the world. We must have our slice of the action. We feel that we can’t possibly give it up completely; that would simply be too great a cost to bear. So, like Lot, we seek instead to do our best in a hopelessly compromised situation, trying to maintain dual citizenship in the world and in heaven.
Though gradually, though no one remembers exactly how it happened, the unthinkable becomes tolerable. And then acceptable. And then legal. And then applaudable.
Briefly answer each question: 1. What are your favorite TV shows, movies, and bands? 2. What values do they promote? 3. How do their values compare to the Word of God? 4. Do you critically evaluate TV shows or music CDs? How? 5. Is there anything you refuse to watch or listen to? Why? 6. What types of Internet sites do you tend to visit? 7. How do you determine whether a site is worth exploring? 8. Do you think your entertainment habits please God? 9. What qualities do you look for in friends? 10. Do you see these qualities in your current friends? 11. Do your friends influence you toward godliness or worldliness?
As we approach the twenty-first century, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that our entire culture is in trouble. We are staring down the barrel of a loaded gun, and we can no longer afford to act like it’s loaded with blanks… Our society has replaced heroes with celebrities, the quest for a well-informed character with the search for a flat stomach, substance and depth with image and personality. In the political process, the makeup man is more important than the speech writer, and we approach the voting booth, not on the basis of a well-developed philosophy of what the state should be, but with a heart full of images, emotions, and slogans all packed into thirty-second sound bites. The mind-numbing, irrational tripe that fills TV talk shows is digested by millions of bored, lonely Americans hungry for that sort of stuff (J.P Moreland).
If we seek from the world the pleasures we should seek in God, we are unfaithful to our marriage vows. And, what’s worse, when we go to our Heavenly Husband and actually pray for the resources with which to commit adultery with the world [Jas. 4:3-4], it is a very wicked thing. It is as though we should ask our husband for money to hire male prostitutes to provide the pleasure we don’t find in him!
Here is the great evangelical disaster – the failure of the evangelical world to stand for truth as truth. There is only one word for this – accommodation: the evangelical church has accommodated to the world spirit of the age… Truth carries with it confrontation. Truth demands confrontation: loving confrontation, but confrontation nevertheless. If our reflex action is always accommodation regardless of the centrality of the truth involved, there is something wrong.
The world can pull us into its grip. If we are not careful, Christians can allow the world to dictate our causes and our beliefs and our attitudes. We can easily get squeezed into its mold and while we intend well, the powerhouse of our actions becomes feelings, experiences or whatever is currently trending.
Isn’t it strange how a $100 “looks” so big when you take it to church, but so small when you take it to the mall. Isn’t it strange how long it takes to serve God for an hour, but how quickly a team plays 60 minutes of basketball. Isn’t it strange how long a couple of hours spent at church are, but how short they are when watching a movie. Isn’t it strange how we can’t think of anything to say when we pray, but don’t have difficulty thinking of things to talk about to a friend. Isn’t it strange how we get thrilled when a baseball game goes into extra innings, but we complain when a sermon is longer than the regular time. Isn’t it strange how hard it is to read a chapter in the Bible, but how easy it is to read 100 pages of a bestselling novel. Isn’t it strange how people want to get a front seat at any game or concert, but scramble to get a back seat at church services. Isn’t it strange how we need 2 or 3 weeks advance notice to fit a church event into our schedule, but can adjust our schedule for other events at the last moment. Isn’t it strange how hard it is for people to learn a simple gospel well enough to tell others, but how simple it is for the same people to understand and repeat gossip. Isn’t it strange how everyone wants to go to heaven provided they do not have to believe, or to think, or to say, or do anything. Isn’t it strange how you can send a thousand ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Isn’t it strange how we set our clocks to arise at 4:00am or 5:00am to be at the job by 7:30, yet when Sunday comes we can’t get to church for 11:00am to praise the one who gave us the jobs! Isn’t it strange how we call God our Father and Jesus our brother, but find it hard to introduce them to our family. Isn’t it strange how small our sins seem, but how big “their” sins are. Isn’t it strange how we demand justice for others, but expect mercy from God. Isn’t it strange how we are so quick to take directions from a total stranger when we are lost, but are hesitant to take God’s direction for our lives. Isn’t it strange how so many churchgoers sing “Standing on the Promises” but all they do is sit on the premises. Isn’t it strange how people want God to answer their prayers, but refuse to listen to His counsel. Isn’t it strange how we sing about heaven, but live only for today. Isn’t it strange how people think they are going to Heaven, but don’t think there is a Hell. Isn’t it strange how it is okay to blame God for evil and suffering in the world, but it is not necessary to thank Him for what is good and pleasant. Isn’t it strange how when something goes wrong, we cry, “Lord, why me?” but when something goes right, we think, “Hey, it must be me!”