Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Be the salt in your culture

The next question on my heart after my previous post was... by what do I do if my culture is just permeating evil? If I believe the culture promotes nothing but ungodliness? Can I be a part of it then? Do I hide in my house? What do I do?

I kept thinking about this last night and God wake me up with this verse on my mind:

"You are here to be the salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of the earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness?" Matthew 5:13

The culture Jesus was in, obviously promoted ungodliness.... and even if the culture didn't, the culture of people He hung out with obviously did.... He touched and changed the lives of sinners in a culture of people living ungodly lives.

The world we live in is run by the devil, we can see evil in EVERYTHING in our culture!!!! BUT the Spirit and the Word are way more powerful than satan. We need to marinate ourselves in the powerful Word which is how Jesus rebuked satan. We need to use it as our weapon against him and his forces. And we have to have faith that we are "above the influence" because of who is protecting us! If we are doing all these things - we can 'go out there' into the world and find God EVERYWHERE and ANYWHERE.

God is so awesome ---- AGAIN He answered my questions right away. I opened up The Worshipper magazine again and found an article by Craig Detweiler about finding God in 'secular' movies. It's so extremely important for us to understand and be able to relate to our culture because within our culture we can interpret the longing of the people, what they are searching and hungering for --- and then provide them with the answer when the time is right!

So that was God's first answer to me. It was:
  • You are called to go out there even though, yes this world and culture market evil
  • The presence of the Spirit in you alone, is a great addition to your culture and NEEDED
  • Be the salt-seasoning --- SEARCH for God in the world and culture. God is only found when you seek Him. If you expect to find Him, you will. You can be the salt for others to be able to taste godliness!

His second answer was also very clear through:

  1. Robin's blog here regarding protecting our eyes and ears, knowing that huge disasters, always are results of small choices along the way like I wrote about yesterday.
  2. A purpose driven email I got as SOON as I finished writing my previous post (God is awesome!!).

The Purpose Driven Email was also about our focus.

  • Run from anything that gives you the evil thoughts . . . but stay close to anything that makes you want to do right. 2 Timothy 2:22 (LB)
  • We naturally move toward whatever we focus our attention on. The more you think about something, the stronger it takes hold of you.
  • That is why repeating “I must stop eating too much . . . or stop smoking . . . or stop lusting” is a self-defeating strategy. It keeps you focused on what you don’t want.

YES I love this! This is so true. If you are constanstly saying this world is EVIL, there is nothing good in it..... if you keep seeking out the devil in ALL parts of our culture -- you will find him there without a doubt. BUT what if you constantly are seeking out God in ALL parts of your world?! You will find Him!!!

  • Temptation begins by capturing your attention. What gets your attention arouses your emotions. Then your emotions activate your behavior, and you act on what you felt. The more you focus on “I don’t want to do this,” the stronger it draws you into its web.
  • Ignoring a temptation is far more effective than fighting it. Once your mind is on something else, the temptation loses its power. So when temptation calls you on the phone, don’t argue with it, just hang up!
  • Sometimes this means physically leaving a tempting situation. This is one time it is okay to run away. Get up and turn off the television set. Walk away from a group that is gossiping. Leave the theater in the middle of the movie. To avoid being stung, stay away from the bees.
  • Spiritually, your mind is your most vulnerable organ. To reduce temptation, keep your mind occupied with God’s Word and other good thoughts. You defeat bad thoughts by thinking of something better. This is the principle of replacement. You overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).
  • Satan can’t get your attention when your mind is preoccupied with something else. That’s why the Bible repeatedly tells us to keep our minds focused: “Fix your thoughts on Jesus” (Hebrews 3:1 NIV).

Yes! Focus on finding Jesus amongst all this ungodliness!

“Fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable” (Philippians 4:8 TEV).

If you’re serious about defeating temptation you must manage your mind and monitor your media intake. The wisest man who ever lived warned, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” (Proverbs 4:23 TEV).

I loved this as well!! SO YES we must avoid temptations, we must protect what seeds are planted into us, we have to make sure the biggest influence in our life is the Spirit and the Word.... but we can go out into any culture/subculture and find Jesus!!!

If we're in a situation and feel ourselves getting tempted, yes flee..... that place is not our place to be the salt.... but just because WE aren't meant to be in that place, we can't assume every christian shouldn't be....we can't look at other christian's actions or activities or who they are around and assume anything of them... maybe that's the location and subculture they were called to be the salt of! Maybe they have been able to draw out God in that activity and not focus on the devil's work there. Maybe it's not a temptation to them at all, so they can be that's where God is using them. Maybe they are so spiritually mature and marinated in the Word they are completely above the influence that would crush us in the same situation.

We can't hide in closets. We can't be 'scared' of our culture. We can't have a spirit of fear when our mind is full with things that are True and good. We NEED to have our guard up and be protective of our thoughts, which is what shapes our life. But we can be on guard without being fearful. Protected without being hyper negative / hyper critical.

PHEW! :) What an AWESOME way to wake up!! I'm ready to face the day! :)


Monday through Sunday said...

Randi Jo, I am so thankful for your love for our Father. It is a breath of fresh air. If you lived near...I am sure we would spend a great deal of time talking about both of our greatest loves...Jesus. :)

Randi Jo :) said...

right back atcha :)

Robin said...

Randi - great post - reads like a devotional. Your mention of a book at your other blog - well these posts sound like a good beginning :)

Keep seeking HIM and HE will continue to reveal HIMSELF to you!

Randi Jo :) said...

thanks so much Robin! :)

:..Rebekah..: said...

Great post Randi Jo! The thing that jumped out at me was this:

-We naturally move toward whatever we focus our attention on. The more you think about something, the stronger it takes hold of you.
-That is why repeating “I must stop eating too much . . . or stop smoking . . . or stop lusting” is a self-defeating strategy. It keeps you focused on what you don’t want.

This was very important for me to read today. I have a tendency to repeat what I'm doing wrong to myself and do dwell on my weaknesses. I must remember to keep my heart and focus on Jesus!
That's why my blog has ended up being good for me, because I purpose to dwell on good and lovely things. Blogging and visiting my blogging buddies helps to encourage me to keep my mind on good and lovely things instead of my failures. I'm so thankful for you!