Confronting Culture

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 NIV
The culture in which we live is darkening and decaying. People are turning to substitutes that promise hope but deliver little that even remotely resembles what we find in Christ. Solomon, the wisest of men who ever lived, describes the artificial fillers that he sought out in search of the ultimate reality.
In Ecclesiastes we can trace his pursuits:

Academics“Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge.” 1:16
Activity“Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” 2:1
Artificial tranquility“I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly…”2:3
Accomplishment“I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards.” 2:4 Accumulation – “I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers, and a harem as well–the delights of the heart of man.” 2:7-8
Acclaim “I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me.” 2:9
Someone once said, ‘without Christ you will either fail miserably or you will succeed more miserably.’ Listen to Solomon’s summary at the end of his search for something that would fill the void in his life. Ecc.2:11 NLT…”But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless. It was like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.”

That’s the best ‘culture’ can produce under the sun or apart from God! The challenge that we face today is living Christ in a world that sees so little of what He looks like. Consider the statement of our Lord in John 14:6.
Christ says, ‘I am the way’ but individualism says – ‘I’ll live for myself, thank you very much!’ So just like those in the days of the Judges, everyman does that which is right in his own eyes. After all, it can’t be wrong when it feels so right! You’re the most important person in the world! Individualism screams the words of the Frank Sinatra song, “I’ll do it my way!” and in so doing, it rejects the way.

Christ says, ‘I am the truth’ but relativism tells us there are no absolutes! I wonder if they are absolutely sure about that one? The flow of current thought is that it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere. Never mind that a person can be sincerely wrong! Tolerance has become the highest value in the human-relations stakes. ‘Every idea, opinion, philosophy, or belief has equal weight and value’ these user-friendly penchants tell us. But relativism is a blatant rejection of the truth.

Christ says, ‘I am the life’ but secularism sarcastically retorts, ‘God is unnecessary!’ ‘Yeah, I believe in God, I just don’t need Him in my life.’ God is being systematically removed from our culture, step by step, day by day, bit by bit. The secularism of our day is killing us because it is clearly rejecting the life.

The answer that our culture needs is not in creating a ‘Christian-culture’, which becomes nothing more than a gigantic holy huddle with drastic implications, but rather penetrate the darkness with the life and light of Christ! Boldly live out Christ, so that our culture will be confronted with people whose lives are being transforming by the Spirit of the living God! If our culture conflicts with Christ…guess who has to change? So get out there and do what Titus says – “make the teaching about God our Saviour attractive” (2:10). After all, what could be more attractive than Christ?
Remember, for you to live – is Christ!

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