By Lynette Kittle, Crosswalk.com
Our culture is full and brimming over with cultural lies. Yet what happens when these lies so infiltrate the Church that Christians aren’t even aware of their source or how they are affecting their thinking and behaviors?
1 Peter 4:17 says before we start trying to correct the world, we need to first bring correction to the Church. “For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the Gospel of God?”
Although it’s easier to point fingers at the secular world than to examine our selves, below are five of the most common lies that have seeped into Christian culture and how to resist them.
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1. Trendy Young People Make the Best Leaders
Is the Church practicing ageism like the world, dismissing older generations, considering them out of touch and outdated? Are a growing number of congregations gravitating towards only youthful, trendy looking worship teams and pastoral staff?
Although looking youthful and cool doesn’t keep God away from those whose hearts are turned towards Him, it certainly isn’t a requirement to serve Him. Actually, Scripture tells us quite the opposite. God says He looks on the inside at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). So why then does it seem churches are focused more on the outside of people?
Looking in Scripture, we see how God moved through individuals who wouldn’t fit in or be recognized in many churches, let alone be considered for any kind of leadership role. As well, Isaiah 53:2 describes Jesus having no beauty or majesty, or an appearance that would even draw our attention to Him.
Unlike the world we can resist the lie urging us to dismiss and disqualify people who don’t reflect culture’s ideal of the brightest and the best, looking rather at their hearts more than their outward appearance.
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2. Celebrity Endorsements Make All the Difference
It’s great to hear of famous people accepting Christ as their Savior, but are we more excited in hearing about their conversions than the next-door neighbor's kids getting saved?
Are many believers regarding a celebrity being saved as more important than other people? If so, James 2:1 urges, “My brothers and sister, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.”
Every decision to follow Christ is wonderful, and it’s encouraging when celebrities boldly proclaim their new faith in Jesus Christ. Still some Christians act like it’s a bigger deal when the rich and famous get saved, like it validates their own decision to follow Jesus and makes being a Christian look cooler to the world.
Yet most believers don’t realize that showing favoritism is a sin (James 2:9).
If we find ourselves more interested in a celebrity conversion or endorsement than the person next door, it’s a good time for us to examine our commitment to Christ. It's an opportunity to ask ourselves if we have more faith in what fame can accomplish than in the power of the gospel to change people's lives.
A way to resist this lie is to believe what Scripture teaches about the gospel of Jesus Christ, of its power to change lives, without celebrity backing. Like the Apostle Paul proclaimed, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings Salvation to everyone who believes; first to the Jew, then to the Gentile” (Romans 1:16).
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3. Reaching People Requires Mega Dollars
Million of dollars are spent on Christian concerts, festivals, conferences, films, books, television programming, and more. Although these media events offer an exciting atmosphere for leading people to Christ, believers don’t want to lose sight of how God works through individuals to touch hearts and draw them to Him.
Many Christians underestimate how their simple efforts of sharing the gospel to those around them through kindness, compassion, generosity, friendliness, helpfulness, and more, can lead people to knowing God.
Often we believe it requires mega dollars to share Christ with those around us, but Scripture describes how Jesus went around doing good because God was with Him (Acts 10:38). Jesus also calls us to follow His example. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glory your Father in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
A way for us to resist the cultural lie of believing we don’t have the means to lead people to Christ is by believing God is with us, like Philippians 2:13 assures us: “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.”
We also resist by reaching out to others, like Harry, who as a child, attended a church camp with his Mom who was hired to serve as the camp’s nurse. While there, he gave his heart to the Lord. Once back home in New Jersey, Harry led his Mom, Dad, brothers and sister all to salvation in Jesus Christ.
In the same way, John, a retired city bus driver, filled his weeks by using his lifelong bus pass to visit and pray with local shut-ins. When he passed away, hundreds of people showed up at his funeral, lining the street and sharing stories of how John had led them to Christ and helped them in practical ways during their greatest times of need.
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4. We Need to Keep Up with the Times
Popular trends and philosophies have seeped in and are now overtaking Christians, overriding what God has said is righteous with what the world says is good. As 2 Peter 2:2 describes, “Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.”
A growing number of churches are boldly following the world and calling things that God says are evil, good. Christians, church leaders, and entire denominations are choosing to replace God’s truth with cultural truth. Titus 1:16, explains how it’s those who claim to know God, but by their actions deny Him.
More and more Christians are embracing practices and behaviors Scripture refers to as sinful. 2 Timothy 4:3, describes. “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”
But we can resist the cultural lie to keep up with the times by knowing God’s word, which is His truth (John 17:17), because knowing it gives us the ability to recognize the lies.
As well, we can resist going along with the crowd by standing up and speaking out His truth, even when it’s unpopular.
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5. Toxic People Are Disposable
Social media likes to encourage us to rid our lives of toxic people. But as Christians, is it loving and Christ-like to dispose of people because they have issues, are difficult to deal with, or unpleasant to be around? Should Jesus have gotten rid of Judas?
Still loving rather than disposing doesn’t mean we have to subject ourselves to abuse, or can’t set borders, or be wise and watchful in our relationships with people. But if Christians abandon challenging people, are we truly living out John 13:35, “By this everyone will know that you are My disciple, if you love one another.”
Although it’s a natural response to want to distance ourselves from those who make us upset, uncomfortable, or unhappy, is it possible God is working through these relationships in ways we may not like or want, refining rough stuff in us, teaching us how to love, to be kind, forgiving, and much more?
Author and speaker Joyce Meyer’s father sexually abused her growing up and for most of her life, he showed no regret. Yet at the end of her father’s life, God began to speak to her about taking care of him in practical ways by providing housing and more, even though he remained unrepentant for abusing her.
But what would have happened to Meyer’s father if she had listened to the voices urging her to completely rid herself of his “toxic” influence in her life?
Like her we can resist the lie to dispose of “toxic” individuals by listening to God’s voice, believing His word, and expressing His love even in difficult situations.
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