As church attendance dwindles in this post Christendom age we, as the faithful, seem to be forgetting a very important reality of being a Christian. Christ called us to live in this world, but to not be of it. We, as his children, are set apart from the world view and called to live with a Christocentric view instead.
In Romans 12:2 (NRSV)we read,
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
So we are called to live by a different set of rules. Every parent establishes rules for their children to be guided by and to live within. God the Father is no different. Jesus spent his time here on earth establishing the new laws of love during his ministry and by becoming our example of how to live.
How then to we do this? To begin with, we need to be people of faith everyday, not just on Sundays. To be sure, church attendance is important. However, it isn’t meant to satisfy the “religion” requirement of our lives that we check off each week.
No, church is meant to be a refueling of our faith. The place where we go to above all worship our mighty God and shower him with our thanksgiving and praise. It is also a place for us to fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ and to refill ourselves with things that are good.
Here is where we hold each other accountable. Here is where we seek prayer and guidance in our struggles. We get refilled with the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. This renews us to go back out into the world around us and shine our lights into the broken darkness.
Recently in a Sunday School class with our youth we had a lesson on this very thing. We talked about how the choices we make when it comes to every day things, like what television shows we choose to watch or what movies we choose to go see or the music we choose to listen to, are the very things that may set us apart.
It can be very hard to tell our group of friends that we are choosing to not see a new popular release film because we feel that it isn’t appropriate. We as humans want to be accepted. To often in our culture I think we are saying to ourselves what harm will it do if I see this/hear this/support this? I know the difference between right and wrong, moral and immoral, virtue and sin.
And there in lies the dangerous trap. Once we see or hear something, good or bad, we can’t remove that from our brains. It will forever more be in there. So while it seems harmless enough to watch that block buster movie filled with loose morals and crass and vulgar language, we are accepting the messages they are filling our brains with. Eventually we may even begin to question why is this so wrong as we hear the Evil One whispering in our ears.
In the verse above, we are called to renew our minds. Rather than filling ourselves with garbage, strive to seek out stuff that is filling and good. In doing this we will draw closer to God in our walk and be able to discern his voice more clearly in a noisy and chaotic world.
It is no different from the foods we eat. If we choose to eat nothing but fast food cheese burgers our physical health will be poor as we pollute our bodies with little or no good nutrients. However, when we choose to eat a diet balanced in lean meats, low-fat dairy, vegetables, and whole grains we promote good health within and have the energy we need to go about our lives.
Our spiritual health needs to be fed a constant diet of things that are good and acceptable and perfect. Choose to walk the path of showering the love of the radical Messiah. One good choice by you can lead to another good choice by someone else.
Be the rebel that chooses substance over meaningless nothings.