“Do not conform to the pattern of this world…” Romans 12:2 (NIV)
Rain and wind lack any will of their own. They have no agenda or goals, and yet their destruction seems almost orchestrated. Water from a light shower runs slowly down the roof, wearing away the surface until it breaks through. Breezes gently blow, applying slight pressure then releasing, weakening the bond that holds the shingle in position. At some point, as if there was a meeting to plan an attack, the skies get dark, the winds pick up, and rain begins to fall. Weak points and worn-through sections are the first to fall to this offensive, but that isn’t the end. The wind opens a point of entry followed by the rain, and before you know it, they have compromised the protective layer and begun destroying everything it once guarded.
The world has no will of its own.
There is no single agenda or goal agreed upon by the people living on the outside, and yet the destruction seems almost orchestrated. That’s because it is! Unlike the rain and wind, there is a force that has a master plan. If we accept that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28) then we must also assume that The Snake, who is working to foil the plans of God, is also at work for his own purpose.
Satan will use whatever he can to work toward his goal of death and destruction.
It isn’t always as obvious as a pitchfork-holding, cattle-hooved, evil-looking creature showing up outside the Christ follower’s and the collective of Christ followers’ houses. Instead… he “masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14 NIV). Slowly, he wears down the outer layer of protection with a constant flow of what we consider normal everyday things. We don’t make sure that our spiritual shingles and flashingare all in good working order because we don’t see the water from Satan’s light shower as a threat. The little things that erode our belief system, changing us and the churches we attend, go unnoticed.
I don’t know how much entertainment has worn away at you, but the next time a scene occurs that suggests or shows unmarried characters engaging in a sexual relationship, ask yourself, “Does this even phase me?”
When I was growing up, Christians were worried about the language in movies and on TV, followed closely by the amount of exposed skin. What was lost by focusing on creating rules to address the obvious linguistic and visual boundary-pushing was the changing message about sex…. To make a movie or a TV show available to the largest audience and therefore create the best opportunity for a money-making hit, the language and the nudity had to be all but eliminated. If you want parents and teens to see your show, keep it “PG.”
When watching these “cleaner” shows, do you find yourself cheering for the romantic lead or the action hero to finally get the girl or guy? I do! Okay I admit it, as much as I am not a big fan of rom-coms (romantic comedies), I still get swept up in the love stories; please don’t tell anyone. The truth is, when we cheer for a connection to be made between characters, almost always we are cheering for them to “hook up.” In the fantasy world created by Hollywood, love is expressed by sleeping together, while marriage is an afterthought if it is thought of at all. Let’s face it, we don’t even notice that this is what we are cheering for. We don’t realize that we are accepting sinful behavior as part of this good story. How we view sex or drugs, lying or cheating, or any sinful acts can be slowly conformed to the pattern of this world through the media we consume.
Whether the slow erosion is effective or not, Satan is not finished.
Using the word of God as he did when he tempted Jesus, Satan twists the idea of love and the concept of mercy to wage war against us. It’s in the news stories we read and view, and in the plots of the shows we watch. If you don’t accept people’s lifestyle, then you are not a good person and therefore not a good Christian. If you really love and have mercy, you must allow people to do what they feel is right. Born that way or just experimenting, finding pleasure a different way or just looking for a little spice in their life, the message is: who are you to judge? We are barraged with messages that ask us to embrace the sinful behaviors of the world outside and try to convince us that love and mercy really means acceptance; anything else is passing judgement.
Slow erosion or full assaults…
…The Snake is using the people of this world to wear away at the Bible-based beliefs Christ followers hold until they are gone and we “conform to the pattern of this world.” If we are not making sure the spiritual shingles and flashing are still intact, it won’t be long before something gets through. If this were a building, we would inspect the exposed part of the roof to make sure it still looked like it is supposed to look so it will function the way it was designed to function. It is too late to start to check after the water is eating away at the inside of the house; we need to make sure it is functioning right from the beginning. This means installing it right and maintaining it right. The nails, flexible adhesives, and overlapping patterns of the Christ follower and collective of Christ followers are:
- Reading the Bible
- Creating a system of accountability
- Learning and building relationships as part of a collective of Christ followers