Here were three Christians sitting around discussing life. The conversation sounded spiritual, but there was hardly any mention of God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit.
How did I miss it?
For so long now I’ve tried to mind my own business and not get caught up in talk. I’m not saying I’ve been successful, but I try.
Celebrity gossip drives me nuts. Again, it’s not to say that I haven’t gotten caught up in it, but as a whole, I don’t get it. Especially in Christian celebrity circles.
Yet, here I was dumbstruck. One of my favorite Christian singers from the past was talking about their divorce. Other Christians were talking about it with them as if it was okay. The gist of it was freedom.
First, I didn’t know anything about the divorce. Second, they changed, as did one of the other people in the discussion. They were no longer the person or people I admired. They were discussing freedom and how they had to let go of some of their old beliefs – beliefs they grew up with in church – in order to find freedom.
No mention of God telling them anything. No mention of the Bible. No mention of prayers. And no mention of them studying the scripture for themselves.
This was their revelation. Not inspired by God, but inspired by their circumstances.
Now, before anyone thinks I am judging them, let me stop you right there. I’m not. What I am doing is using discernment. After all, one of them used to be my favorite singers. I enjoyed the music and sang to it. Knowing what I now know, do I give them authority to sing into my life any longer?
Well, that’s a little more complicated.
I went for a walk. Walking helps me to process my thoughts.
I was angry, which sounds really stupid now. But, I was. How could they not see how far they were from God? How could they not see that they were compromising their faith in order to make their circumstances fit their faith? Who hurt them that much to compromise their beliefs?
Whoa, whoa, whoa, Sunny.
Why should I care? They aren’t a part of my life. Who am I to judge? Let God deal with them. Sooner or later they’ll figure out how wrong they were, but will it be here on earth or when they stand before God.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, Sunny.
How do they justify their lifestyle now? What scripture justifies their actions? Did they even read the Word? Did they seek God’s guidance? Where in the Bible did they find confirmation for what they did? Did culture confirm their actions?
A voice inside my head: Did they get their confirmation from scripture or culture?
That’s when the thinking stopped during my walk.
Well, for a brief second. As soon as I heard that in my head, I turned my attention to myself. How often have I made choices based on culture rather than scripture? As a Christian, cultural pressure should never supersede scriptural authority.
Ay yi yi.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. ~ Romans 12:2
How is your relationship with God?
Whenever I talk with another Christian who is struggling, I ask them how their relationship with God is. Most of the time, the relationship is not good. I began asking that question because when I am struggling, I ask myself that same question.
How is my relationship with God?
If I even have to ask that question, the answer is quite evident. When I feel a distance “with” God, it’s me that did the moving away from Him. When I can’t hear His voice even in my prayer time, it’s me that hasn’t been listening. When I act upon a situation and the results are less than stellar, it’s me that didn’t seek God for direction.
There are more than a handful of times I look back at my life and see that I was putting up a front. I put on my Christian mask – much like the Christian celebrity I mentioned above – and acted like all was well.
Don’t get me wrong. There is a difference between saying “All is well” when you’re pretending to look like a I-got-it-all-together Christian and saying “All is well” when you’ve been in God’s presence; communing with Him.
In my past, I tended to lean toward the former rather than with trust as in the latter.
A relationship with God isn’t just saying some words one-time and go about living my life however I want. It isn’t about attending or serving at church or a ministry. It isn’t about trying to be good or treat people nicely.
It is all of those things and more.
God wants to be a part of our life here on earth as He will be in heaven. He wants to be involved in our victories and struggles. He wants us to turn to Him in our anger, pain and suffering. He wants to dwell with us in our joy and rejoicing. He wants us to ask questions of Him in our prayer time and reading of the Bible.
As I tell others, He already knows everything anyway, so you might as well tell Him about it yourself.
A relationship with God isn’t about having a perfect life without legitimate struggles. We were never promised a life without struggle (John 16:33). Unfortunately, we first-world Christians tend to come across like that, don’t we?
In the midst of those struggles and trials and troubles, who are we turning to? Whose voice are we hearing? What are we doing to comfort ourselves while we’re going through the storm?
Who are we allowing to speak into our lives? Culture or scripture?
No matter who we are, it is on us to guard our hearts. Our situations, our influences, our thoughts and yes, our beliefs – what or who we allow into our lives and ultimately our hearts, that’s on us.
I know not the condition of the hearts for those three Christians. It is not mine to know. Hindsight, 20/20 (no year-pun intended), I would view them with a far different lens than I did back then.
They are human just like me. They may be in the spotlight, singing and talking about God, but they are sinners just like me. I gave them too much authority to speak (or sing) into my life. I put them on a pedestal as great Christians.
My dearest family in Jesus…why are we so star struck? Why do we idolize Christian singers and speakers? We go from glorifying musicians in the world, to glorifying Christian musicians. It’s all idolatry! Can’t you see that? It’s true that there are many men and women of God who are greatly anointed to call down the Spirit of God on His people and the unsaved. But Satan is getting a great victory as we seem to worship these ministers on tapes and records, and clamor to get their autographs in churches and concert halls from coast to coast. ~ Keith Green
I didn’t know better back then. I know better now.
They are human just like me. They were/are prone to the same disillusionment, doubts and pitfalls that this broken and fallen world can often bring. It was wrong of me to put them on any kind of a pedestal.
Who are they listening to now? Who is speaking into their lives? I don’t know. I can only answer for me.
What’s it going to be, Sunny? Scripture or culture?
Knees Down, Prayers Up,
1 thought on “Scripture or Culture”
You made long look short. Well done with this girl.
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