Counter Cultural

Some of you recently watched the State of the Union address; to be honest I was not one of those people. They have become very predictable and not since President Bush’s axis of evil speech have there been any surprises. Our President’s do a great job during these speeches and that is expected, they have the best speech writers available to them and more than enough time to prepare.

The very first State of the Union speech was given by George Washington in 1790 and they have taken place every year since. The media certainly does attempt to build these events up but what do we remember if anything from these speeches. I can mention the one speech that President Bush gave because it was somewhat different from the others during my lifetime. Other people might mention President Johnson’s speech when he introduced the War on Poverty or when President Roosevelt proposed the Four Freedoms. And for those of you who are students of history you might mention President Monroe and the Monroe Doctrine which became the cornerstone of foreign policy for this country for a time.

The STU in my opinion is the political and cultural viewpoint of our President. At one time I might have said; the viewpoint of our country but our country is so divided in its views that it has in the very least become the President’s view and his supporter’s views. The STU speech seems to be more of a laundry list of things that need to happen in order for peace and harmony and fairness to be achieved.

In either case those of us who identify ourselves with Christ, have to ask ourselves what is the biblical view of our culture?

In spite of all the increases in technology, medicine, education and all the other areas we deem important, we have not changed from our own basic nature and if we haven’t fundamentally changed then it can be said that neither has society. Our confidence grows as a society mainly because of the increase in accomplishments. But this confidence or faith is not in the One that truly matters. It seems that what people would call progress, has had the effect of diminishing things like peace of mind and purpose in life. But what this progress has given us are new ways to indulge ourselves in sinful lifestyles, new ways to corrupt and destroy ourselves. Society is not spiraling out of control; it seems to me to have a pretty consistent downward spiral. This should not surprise us; the bible teaches us that things will get worse.

What do we base our actions and the actions of society against? The answer would boil down to morals no matter how we slice it. A problem that we have is, as a society our morals are what society deems right or wrong or what the law might say. Because of this our Morals change with what is normal or even what is acceptable in society. The fact is our morals should be based on the Ethics of God and His word.

I joked around with a friend of mine saying that we need to start our own commune. Which is exactly what some Christians try to do by isolating themselves from the world around them. I think most of us have attempted this at one time or another, and most of us have also found it doesn’t work. You may remove yourself and your children from the culture, or at least attempt to, but the culture will find you. Jesus prayed this for us: “I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one” (John 17:15).

The objective of believers is not to isolate, but to infiltrate; not to evade, but to invade. We are to impact our culture without being compromised by it. And what does God say about our culture?

We see unseen things (2 Cor. 4:18)
We conquer by yielding (Rom. 6:16-18)
We find rest under a yoke (Mt. 11:28-30)
We reign by serving (Mark 10:42-44)
We are made great by becoming little (Luke 9:48)
We are exalted by being humble (Mt. 23:12)
We become wise by being fools for Christ’s sake (1 Cor. 1:20, 21)
We are made free by becoming His bond servants (Rom. 6:10)
We are strong by being weak (2 Cor. 12:7-10)
We find victory by boasting in our infirmities (2 Cor.12:5)
And we live by dying (John 12:24-25; 2 Cor. 4:10-11)
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)

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