A simple question. A simple answer. However, the process is not that simple. Sometimes I wish changing my world would be that easy, but it is not! The question remains, how should we a Christians relate to the world/culture around us? Richard Niebuhr offers a few observations. I will touch briefly on 2.
1. Separate from the world around you. This option has been used by many over the years. The view of culture is so negative that it is better to separate from it altogether. Those who adhere to this usually speak against everything the world offers but also rarely have a better solution. To separate from the world denies the power of the incarnation. Jesus came into the world, shouldn’t we?
2. Saturate in the world around you. This option is very popular today. We have seen a drastic reduction in the differences between those in church and those outside of church; the believer and the unbeliever. Statistics have been out for years that reveal little to no difference. Churches have affinity worship. Denominations plant affinity churches. Other churches have a concert and a nice little ditty to pump you up for the week. To saturate in the world denies the righteousness of Jesus. He came into the world but did not let the world adversely affect him.
What is our option? How can we change the world? Instead of the 2 extremes above, let us look at another option by Niebuhr: transform the world. We, as believers, as supposed to make disciples of all the nations. In other words, change your world. How do we do that exactly? Here you go:
1. Let God change you first. Come to the cross. Drop your sin. Walk by faith. Be forgiven. God must change you and empower you with the Spirit before you can do anything.
2. Have prayer that shakes. When was the last time you were shaken up in prayer? When was the last time you cried for the unbeliever in your office, class, or home? Sincere prayer is about others, for others, and requests what pleases God.
3. Be filled with the Spirit. Exchanging every part of you for the power of the Spirit of God. Filled people seek to be used by God to transform people and places around them.
4. Empowered Proclamation. The Word of God is powerful, dynamic, and true. Everywhere we turn we find people who have lost control and hope. We have the opportunity to speak life, love and truth into the lives of those around us. God’s Word is life. Following its ethic leads to life. Making decisions with it leads to life. Going against it leads to stress, anxiety, hopelessness, and more. God’s Word is love. We see the red line of the Gospel from Genesis 3 on. God has loved you from the beginning. God’s Word is truth. Richard Dawkins may believe God is a delusion, but I put my life on what Scripture teaches because it is the very Word of God for us.
5. Unity in the Church. Being of one heart and mind raises the effectiveness of the local church in her community. We all draw strength from one another. We offer hope when we can love and forgive one another. We offer an option when we stand side-by-side despite our differences.
The rest is up to you. Go. Change your world!