Monday, April 03, 2006

What Are You Reading?

As Christians, our first response is to say that we read our bibles daily. That is great, indeed we cannot spend enough time in the Word mingled with prayer and meditation.

However, the question is; what is shaping your worldview? According to a recent Barna report, a large majority of evangelicals lack a biblical worldview.

So again, what are you reading? If the Bible is not shaping your understanding of the world around you and God's plan for your life, what is? God's word must be the central core and plumb line of all our understanding.

Consider the following: how well do you understand the historic significance of our scriptures? Are you aware of the struggle to bring the Bible to the common man in a language they could understand? Are you familiar with the work of missionaries throughout the last few centuries? How do you interpret current events? When issues such as abortion, euthanasia, drug use, same sex marriage, premarital sex, adultery, politics, etc. come up, how do you react?

It is one thing to be reading our bibles daily, but it is another thing to have what we read shape the way we think, act, and speak.

Let us examine our intake; are you allowing the world to infiltrate your home through secular media such as television, movies, magazines, or music? If so, to the degree you absorb this material you are desensitizing yourself to the Spirit of God and the dangers of a fallen world. Don't fall for the lie that says we need to be in the culture to be relevant. A Spirit filled believer is the most relevant thing the world will ever need. Only by keeping ourselves unspotted from the world can our 'religion' be pure and undefiled. Only by properly reflecting the glory of the Lord can we shine for Christ is this wicked and perverse generation.

May God keep our hearts and thoughts pure and holy as we set our minds on the things above where Christ is.


Daniel said...

I certainly (even absolutely) agree with the spirit of your post!

We ought to be entirely consecrated to the Lord in our hearts - recognizing that this same consecration is deceptively futile if rather than coming from a consecrated heart it springs from a rigid form of aceticism. We want to be on guard against trying to wag the dog by it's tail. Consecration begins in the heart - and when found there it always results in the right external activity.

We want to be aware that there is a deceptive counterfeit to "true religion" - and that happens when we zealously conform ourself to some preconceived "form" of righteousness - rather than submit ourself to God's righteousness.

There are some zealous Christians today are only too quick to suggest (as Paul rightly dismisses) "Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch" - as though this ascetic regime could produce godliness - "having the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and abasement and severe treatment of the body - but they are of no value against fleshly indulgence."

That is not to suggest that we are free to indulge ourselves in the whatever immoral garbage is being passed off to us as the cultural opiate of our times - good gravy no! Make no provisions for the flesh!

Yet I always make the point of highlighting how godliness cannot be produced by activity (or alternately the suppression of activity) - but is produced only one way - by humility - an utter and unrelenting consecration (circumcision?) of the heart.

One must ask - am I truly consecrating myself to God if I am at the same time loving the world and the things in the world?

The answer is never to grit our teeth and try harder - it is to recognize our inability - and to give up trying to fix it - and instead accept God's solution for it - the cross.

Great post Jim.

Jim said...

Daniel, thanks for the addendum. I didn't intend for this to be an exhaustive post but rather highlite some things that truly shape our view of life.

Acetism is one possible ditch we can fall into, however in our material rich society it is not our biggest problem, unless of course we were to cloister ourselves into a reclusive state.

Thanks for the input Daniel.


bobby grow said...

Excellent post, Jim! I agree with Daniel, having a "circumcised heart" is the key. Unless our hearts are enflamed, Rom. 5:5, by the love of Christ--we only live a life enslaved to a love of self (i.e. def. of sin contra the Great
Commandment Mt 22)expressing itself in all kinds of immorality.

You know, Jim, Karl Barth, thought being "worldly" was a good thing . . . he qualified this by noting that what God created is good, and should be enjoyed--he believed that there are "witnesses" in the "secular" that point to the WORD (Christ). What distinction do you see between the sacred and secular--if any? In other words, from your perspective, how should the "church" engage culture at large (being in it, but not of it)?

jazzycat said...

I think a big key for these times in engaging the culture is discernment. The secular Godless left still has firm control of the information dissemination, entertainment industry, and university education plus public education. It should be a Christian's duty to confront and expose the fruitless deeds of darkness. This takes discernment.

Jim said...

Bobby, thanks for your comments. I think the secular vs. sacred is a fallacy. This is what we use to justify our carnal lifestyles outside of the "church" environment.

But really our every moment belongs to God and should be sacred. We have been set apart by God for His use and therefore must be holy as He is holy.

As for engaging culture, I think that is a loaded statement. This is similar to friendship evangelism which says I must become friends with a person before witnessing to them about Christ.

I think the very fact of walking by the Spirit and obeying His leading will engage the culture more then we could ever imagine. If all believers were simply the same person 7 days a week there would be more than enough ambassadors for Christ sharing the light of the gospel.

Was that your basic question?

In Christ,

Jim said...

Jazzycat, the purpose of light is to repel darkness. As christians filled with the Spirit we can repel tide of evil. Yes discernment is vital today.

God bless,

bobby grow said...

Yes, Jim! I agree with you . . . we should view life holistically as the scriptures do I Cor 10:31--we might be able to turn the world upside down for the Lord, once again :)!


Joe said...

If the Bible does not form our world view, we have a secular world view, because everything we need to know about God is found in, and only in, His Word.

Great post!

Jim said...

Amen Joe, He is our sufficiency for everything. In Him is all wisdom.

God bless,

Kc said...

Great post and comments Jim.