John Stonestreet, president of The Colson Center for a Christian Worldview has recently been quoted as stating, “Culture forms a person‘s identity and loyalty.” A question I would like for us to consider is whether today‘s culture is predominately influenced by God‘s Word or by a vast array of other man-made enticing options? If the Bible clearly communicates that we are created in the image of God and that our identity is found in Christ Jesus as Lord who claims us as his own in the waters of Holy Baptism, does not the reality of our modern day culture dominated by consumerism, secularism, and entertainment present a heartfelt struggle with where one‘s identity is found and one‘s loyalty lies?
One of the most important Church Fathers of Western Christianity, Saint Augustine, stated in the 4th century A.D. that, “We will not know who we are until we know whose we are,” and “Our heart will not rest until it rests in you, Lord.” Do not the popular culture mediums of media, movies, academia and even government, all which primarily promote a much different and at times opposing worldviews compared to a Christian worldview, present an heartfelt struggle with where our identity is found and our loyalty lies?
“Live and let live” has become the motto of our age, a post Christian era of history. Any Christian who has expressed his or her beliefs in public will have heard this countless times even though faith is personal but not private. The problem is that sooner or later conflicting beliefs collide. And as Alliance Defending Freedom Founder, Alan Sears tells us, it‘s usually Christian beliefs that are expected to give way.
Pastor Chris Brooks characterizes the present day reality of our culture and this nation by stating, “We are more formed by our partisan politics rather than by the gospel that embodies the completed work of redemption and the true nature of Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior.” What does that say about the direction our country appears to be headed, and yes, even some of us in God‘s Church? Pastor Chris reminds us that, “The hope of this country and the rest of the world will never come in Air Force One no matter one‘s political persuasion. Remember that the very thing that gives us value and worth in our earthly lives, if not God based, will likely come back to potentially mislead and possibly destroy us.”
Studies conclude that culture is critical in helping a person find meaning in life. Where are Americans turning to in order to find meaning and purpose in today‘s world? St. Paul writes in Romans 12, “So dear brothers and sisters…Don‘t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God‘s will for you which is good and pleasing and perfect.” NLT
As we approach and celebrate this year‘s 4th of July national holiday, let me remind everyone that the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives us freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Even though many in America think otherwise, our Christian faith is personal but not private. We have the right to share the Good News of the Gospel through our words and actions. We have the privilege of encouraging a Christian worldview in our personal life, our family life, our community life, in our nation and throughout the world. We need to continue to build up the body of Christ wherever that may be. We need to share the life changing, life-saving message of Jesus Christ, the living Son of God, who is the only hope we and the rest of the world have here and now and for eternity.