Rising Above the Cultural Issues

    If you are struggling with what you are hearing and the direction that things are going, you are not alone. This should be the feeling of Jesus’ followers. The Bible reminds us that there is a good reason for the dissidence of heart for those who have been transformed through a relationship with Jesus Christ. We are different from those that do not yet know Jesus. 

    This struggle is really nothing new for followers of the true God. King Solomon reminded us that ““What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) The truth is the specifics may change but the challenges are still the same. God people’s perspective on these varied life situations should be as different from the culture as night is from day.

    Our culture is wrestling through competing views in just about every area of life. I do not need to name specifics because they fill our daily lives. The challenge is that both sides, in pressing for their position fall into the same quicksand trap that sucks them under. Those in support and those against of a cultural issue fall prey to being controlled by the issue. The result is that everything in their life becomes colored by the issue. It is sad when professing followers of Jesus are taken captive by any of these non-Biblical causes they champion.

    The focus for Christians must be to rise above the issues, to see life from the Lord’s perspective. The Lord, speaking through the prophet Isaiah, reminds us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8–9) We often forget that God operates at a different level and by extension God’s people are called to live at a different level. The things that we feel are of great importance may not be as important from God’s perspective.

     Let me offer one example in our lives today, our view on death. I understand that there are those that do take their lives because of the pressures of life. But I have to believe that every person in their hearts would desire to live. Our natural reaction is to fear death. If it is kept in balance it can be a great motivator for healthy living, focusing on relationships, etc. It is when it gets out of balance that it becomes a restraint. The Lord reminds us in His Word that our lives are short (“our days are numbered”) and instructs us to trust Him. Job reminds us that, “Since [a man’s] days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,” (Job 14:5)  We do not know when our lives will end, but the Lord, who know all things, knows the exact time. The Scriptures impress upon us that our days are numbered, but there is more.

     The believer has something to live for beyond death. The Apostle Paul reminds us, “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:1, 8)  If we truly hold these truths, we can live above the issues that are driving the culture and taking us captive. The believer has no reason to fear death.  This is only one example of the difference a Biblical perspective on life has on our day to day lives.

     The challenge is that both sides arguing for their view point often lose sight of what God says and are thrown to and fro from the emotional rollercoaster by the latest developments on the issue. The end result is that we are distracted from focusing on our relationship with the Lord and our responsibility as His servants in a broken world.

     While I cannot speak for you, speaking for myself, I struggle with the cultural narrative when I allow it to become my focus in life rather than looking to the Lord and remembering who I am, a child of God, and God’s many promises to me in His Word.

-Pastor Joe Parkinson

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