Sunday, June 17, 2012

Don't Copy the World

Romans 12:2 says,   "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."

I need the message of this verse so much.  It is so hard to live in this world and not be affected by the behavior and customs of it.  It is so easy to allow our media choices to influence us.  Just watching a news clip probably means you are seeing a woman dressed very immodestly, or a swear word may be used to name a few possibilities.  We go to the grocery store to buy our food and there you see magazine covers right by where you are checking out with suggestive messages, body parts which should be covered are flagrantly displayed, and immoral relationships are celebrated.  How easy it is to be "curious" about these things and pick up a magazine, read it, and voila!  You have just stored an image in your mind which does not meet the criteria set forth in Philippians 4:8; "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

It takes mental energy to do what Philippians 4:8 tells us to.  It goes against our flesh, it requires thought and a conscious choice.  After a long day working and feeling stressed, it is easy to set down in front of whatever media outlets we have and "veg out."  I have found this to be a huge problem for me.

I am presently reading Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Timothy J. Keller, and it is an exercise in mental energies.  I am fascinated by Dietrich Bonhoeffer who lived during World War II in Germany.  He risked and eventually gave his own life to stand for righteousness during that time.  This book gives a detailed account of the struggle in the German church before and during World War II.  It is much easier to read a novel or watch a movie than to exercise my brain to read this book.  But, I believe it is good for me to study this great giant of the faith and to understand something of history.  It is essential also, to do things like this to "push back" against the flesh and what is "easy."  It is part of going against the grain of this world which is always trying to push me into its mold and influence me to take part in its customs.  To spend some of my time reading a thoughtful book about history and Christianity is much more profitable and helpful than the latest tabloid magazine. 

"Lord Jesus, give me strength, give me desire to know You, to glorify You, to enjoy You above all things.  May Your life be seen in me."