We live in a world with a changing culture. Not only is it changing, I believe it is sliding rapidly off a steep cliff away from Biblical truth and Godly standards for living. As a Christian, how do you respond to a world with an ever changing culture? What is truth? Does truth change with culture or is there absolute truth that transcends time and culture? My belief is the Bible is the standard for living. It shows God’s purpose and plan for everyone He created. The Bible is our measuring stick for character, marriage, family, relationships, and every other issue of life.
When culture shifts, will you? Culture does change. But God doesn’t (James 1:17; Numbers 23:19). When culture changes are you going to ask God to change with it? Some of you are old enough to remember when television shows portrayed husband and wife sleeping in two different beds. Today, in some shows, unmarried people are portrayed in the same bed and sometimes in multiple beds with multiple people. Some of Jesus’ last words were to “teach them to obey all I have commanded” (Matthew 28:19-20). Christians are to become less like the worldly culture and more like the God and His Scriptures. Scripture says, “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old things are passed away, behold, all things are becoming new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are to impact the culture around us for Christ, not just isolate ourselves from it. Jesus prayed that Christians would stay in this world to impact it and not be removed from it (John 17:14-15).
Everything God has written in His word is for our benefit, not His. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is God breathed and is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness, SO THAT the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” God isn’t trying to restrict us with a bunch of “Thou Shalt Not’s”. He desires for us to have “life abundantly” (John 10:10) because He knows the Devil wants to steal, kill, and destroy our lives. Paul said we can do anything we want to do. Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial (1 Corinthians 10:23). God created the world for our enjoyment. But Christians shouldn’t immerse themselves in worldly culture or value and chase after everything the world deems pleasurable or good. Our pleasure now as Christians is honoring God and His Word by conforming our lives to what He says is holy, perfect, and right.
When culture shifts and goes against the absolute truth of Scripture you have to know who you are in Christ. Better said, you have to know who God designed you to be and is making you into. In Daniel 1:1-20, the chief official gave Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego new names to redefine who they were. These Godly young men were taken captive by the Babylonians and were to be trained in their language, literature, culture, and standards for living. But these young men knew who they were in God. They knew Whose they were. They refused to bow to the gods of that culture (Daniel 3). When they asked to be tested for ten days (Daniel 1:11-14) with fasting, they were deciding to take a stand against the culture. Afterwards, they were found to be ten times better off than those who remained in the culture of the Babylonians (Daniel 1:20). These men stood for God, wouldn’t bow to culture, and were better off because of it.
Culture will try to rename you, tame you, and claim you for its own. Culture’s desire is for you blend in with it. After all, everybody is doing it. What a lie! Everyone is not and does not have to conform to the culture of this world. Paul tells us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of you mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is” (Romans 12:2). Question: will you change the world or will the world change you? Will your identity come from Christ or from the world? Will you be a thermostat (setting the culture) or a thermometer (responding to the culture)? Remember, sin’s power over us was broken when we became Christians and were baptized to become a part of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:3).