Being and Becoming Christian in a Corrupt World
Who is influencing whom? A recent nationwide survey completed by the Barna Research Group determined that only 4 percent of Americans had a “biblical” worldview. When George Barna, who has researched cultural trends and the Christian Church since 1984, looked at the “born- again” believers in America, the results were a dismal 9 percent.
Barna’s survey also connected an individual’s worldview with his or her moral beliefs and actions. Barna says, “Although most people own a Bible and know some of its content, our research found that most Americans have little idea how to integrate core biblical principles to form a unified and meaningful response to the challenges and opportunities of life.”
If we don’t really believe the truth of God and live it, then our witness will be confusing and misleading. Most of us go through life not recognizing that our personal worldviews have been deeply affected by the world. Through the media and other influences, the secularized American view of history, law, politics, science, God and man affects our thinking more than we realize. We then are taken “captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
However, by diligently learning, applying and trusting God’s truths in every area of our lives — whether it’s watching a movie, communicating with our spouses, raising our children or working at the office — we can begin to develop a deep comprehensive faith that will stand against the unrelenting tide of our culture’s nonbiblical ideas. If we capture and embrace more of God’s worldview and trust it with unwavering faith, then we begin to make the right decisions and form the appropriate responses to questions on abortion, same- sex marriage, cloning, stem-cell research and even media choices. Because, in the end, it is our decisions and actions that reveal what we really believe.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).
I think about all of this when I read today’s passage. Paul is explaining once more, the “tools of our trade” so that we, as a church of believers, who strive to behave like we say we believe, and will affect society more than society affects us. We need to be alert, consistently developing a biblical worldview versus a worldview.
2 Corinthians 10, The Message
3-6 The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.
In this part of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, there are those that would oppose Paul and his words, competing with him, putting him down as one “muscling in” where he does not belong. Paul defends is motivations for ministry and points out that this is worldly thinking that does not advance the work of the spreading the gospel and teaching others how to live. Worldly competition is at play here. Oh, how worldly competition within the church must break the heart of God!
Paul closes with…
5-18 We’re not barging in on the rightful work of others, interfering with their ministries, demanding a place in the sun with them. What we’re hoping for is that as your lives grow in faith, you’ll play a part within our expanding work. And we’ll all still be within the limits God sets as we proclaim the Message in countries beyond Corinth. But we have no intention of moving in on what others have done and taking credit for it. “If you want to claim credit, claim it for God.” What you say about yourself means nothing in God’s work. It’s what God says about you that makes the difference.
What do we learn and need to evaluate in our own lives?
–What God says about us makes the difference.
–Are we “captive” or “casual” Christians. Read more of what Barna has to say about the difference between the two. By the way, 66% of those surveyed are living as casual Christians today.
–How much does our culture influence us? Take stock.
–Who is influencing whom?
Dear Heavenly Father, Sometimes we have be hit over the head in our thoughts to realize just how much the world can influence us. In our busyness we fall for the easy way to live. We become too casual about what we say we believe. We repent. Wash us clean of worldly dirt and help us to throw off all that is tying us down. Set us free to experience the wide open spaces of your unconditional love, mercy and grace today. All day long. Make me a blessing to someone today.
In Jesus Name, Amen