Tuesday, May 07, 2013

The Black Hole Called Culture


Rom.12: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

No more nights, no more pain,
Mo more tears ever crying again
And praises to the Great I AM
We will live in the light of the Risen Lamb

I am on the verge of a praise fit again. I just cannot help it sometimes. I have stood over a dead baby’s crib. I have seen a believing couple’s son take his own life. I have seen a wife first learn that her husband has abandoned her for someone else. I have visited a mother of three young boys as she has just learned she will not live much longer. I have knelt with those same boys at their living room couch as we together gave their mother to Jesus only to watch her slip into His hands several hours later. I had to tell two precious little girls that their mother loved drugs more than she wanted them and that their grandmother would be their mother. I watched my own mother die right before my own eyes.

I have returned home from some heart wrenching episode attempting to have some wisdom for a situation when I knew I had almost none. I have thrown myself, a grown man who stands 6’ 5” on my bed and wept like uncontrollably. As a pastor sometimes the pain of others was so much deeper than my own. I have heard people that I had loved and ministered to stand up and denounce me.

And yet with all that and more I can still look forward to a day of unimaginable glory and wonder where there will be no more pain. One day, one inconceivable day I will have the most undeserved privilege of looking into His face. And please make absolutely no mistake I do not deserve one nano-second of it. And yet I am granted not just one second, not just one year, not even one millennia, but He has granted me forever. If you do not have that assurance you cannot know what it feels like to be completely broken in inside and you become a vessel of worship for His glory alone. Excuse me while I weep before Him…

Why did I write those words and what do they have to do with the subject and the verses I provided? Well, I just wanted to present all of us with the prevailing spiritual reality which so often gets lost amidst the dictates of our present culture. You see, culture is a hard task master. It is a bully. And simply by exercising its time constraints over us it dominates our minds and thereby we lose any real sense of the eternal. And contrary to popular belief this world is the fantasy and the eternal world is the reality.

Culture can be loosely defined as a system of morality, practices, and values acquired through education and especially the interaction among many different perspectives. But it grows into a spirit, a living and breathing influence that spreads its wings and first imprisons the body, but ultimately imprisons the soul. And culture itself, the entity not the concept, is never content with competitors. It demands your full attention and participation and it endures very little compromise. Culture openly and secretly trains its beings with diligence and with a relentless energy that awakens each new day with a renewed yet redundant sense of urgency. Watch as culture lines us all up and preaches individuality while simultaneously sculpting us all as one.

Culture is the insidious enemy of the kingdom of God. Those who follow Jesus must live within it but reject its internal influences. But as antiseptic as that may sound it is a very great challenge. The spirit and practices of the culture patiently encroach on our hearts and minds and not only erode God’s eternal truths, but systematically replace them with temporal realities that can seem oh so religious and moral. It is an insidious process. But only through a constant vigilance that demands God’s Word be the exclusive template in faith and in practice can that process be thwarted. And therein lies the ultimate liability when the church holds up the Scriptures on Sunday mornings only to live according to the cultural dictates the rest of the week.

The culture is full of its own values and practices and a host of altered perceptions. Although we as the church live within that culture physically we are not supposed to embrace it. But it is most difficult to maintain a pure perspective if we do not hold fast to Christ and His Word and strongly realize that the cultural undertow is attempting consistently attempting to drag us into it. And yet we are unaware of the extent and depth of its incursion into our lives. It is very clandestine and often comes in through what seem to be benign practices or a very friendly and compassionate neighbor.

But the most insidious element of culture is that it leads believers into giving their minds over to a kingdom other than the kingdom of God. It may seem good, it may seem right, it may seem moral, and it may even use a little of Jesus’ name, but in the end it is a culture of death. And even while railing against abortion and gay marriage many believers have no idea that they themselves are participants in that same culture. Abortion and gay marriage and being againsty Sharia Law have served as blinders and have allowed millions of culture captured believers to actually believe they are serving Christ. It is a clever and sinister way to offer deception as something good. But the world has its own brand of good. Rich is good. Self righteous is good. Hate is good. Success is good. But what seems good to man is usually without redemption and is not the way of Jesus.

The culture is a black hole which consumes all that get too close. Given enough time, the church has become assimilated by the culture until its structure, practice, and even its beliefs have been so compromised that it is in large part a reflection of the culture rather than a reflection of the Word and of the Lord Jesus Christ. The professing believers live and act and believe and speak just like their unbelieving counterparts. In reality the only time where the verbiage is different is on Sunday morning, and even then much of the same terminology is used.

What does it say about the church of Jesus Christ when it supports and even lauds heretics like Glenn Beck? What does it say about a church that borrows embarrassing amounts of money just to have a new building? What does it say about a church when there is no consistent diet of church wide prayer gatherings? What does it say about a church that displays the flag of a fallen, secular nation in the place of worship? What does it say about a church when it passes out voter information cards every four years? What does it say about a church when they decide a pastor’s salary based upon the secular world?

What all those things and more say about the church is that the culture has done its work successfully. And part of the clandestine assault is that professing believers do not even realize they have been taken prisoner. The moth has flown too close to the flame and in the process it has lost its ability to fly. The frog has been scalded to death since it happened so slowly. And now, being completely enveloped by the power and influence of the culture, not only does the church not strive to resist or escape, but it revels in it.

So without a renewing of the mind much will continue to change. But be advised, those changes will continue to lead away from Christ. But make no mistake, there is another way to spell "culture". It can also be spelled "satan".


Anonymous said...

Thank you Lord Jesus for this.

We are living in a Rome while it's spiritually burning and the church is fiddling.

As disturbing as it is, as we live in the thick of it, this golden calf culture, it makes us want to worship God all the more. I just want to praise Him more and more because He has it all in His hands, and He is aware, and He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. It just proves that His Word was right and is right, and how awesome He is to show his little children these things, who live in the midst of it. I want to feel like Daniel in the lion's den, or (will not attempt to name them) the three Hebrews and Daniel who would not bow to the Persian King; they were in the center of the furnace and were not scorched or hurt.

I know that physically we'll eventually die, but we are alive now. And as we live, and as we want desperately to tell others about the wicked hold culture has on everyone, including believers, we are in a fiery furnace in the midst of the flames urging people to run to Jesus.

I desperately would love to see a spiritual revival like the early century revivals come now. But, Lord willing, I want to be ready like a soldier, jumping out of bed, when the sirens blaze, and jump to service (considering I feel bloated and headachy and sore when I get up, I need faith to believe he would supply the 'kick' and energy).

It's so interesting how those who embrace the culture and all it has have enormous energy. This is just my observation. I have long lost friends from years ago, older than me, who never stop, they travel, go, go, go, and have unlimited energy supplies. I often wonder "WHO" this supplier of energy is that gives people who mock God the strength of eagles and horses.

Even in youth, I battled feeling energetic. But I was always seeking after God, sometimes finding Him and then backing away for a time, but then returning. I had a mother and a sister (still love them) who'se goals in life were pursuing fashion, beauty, success. They were pure energizer bunnies. I was always sickly. THey mocked me, calling me a hypochondriac. To this day, I'm faltering and now having to go under a surgeon's knife. My sister's third marriage to a man and his 2 dogs has her so energized she has 10 times for than I do. Yet, she never calls me, interested in my life. My husband detected some bitterness in me when I'd bring this up. He'd remind me of Psalm 73. I need to repent of my bitterness that shows up in spurts.

However, I am a child of God through Jesus and am not asking the Lord to avenge me or anything like that. I don't wish harm on my enemies. But, it show how human we get when we compare ourselves to those who thrive under this dark culture and nothing seems to fail them.

Sometimes I wonder if it would be harder to live under a dictatorship rule than the easy democratic rule - as a christian. We would, as christians, have much less in a socialist government, yet have more in common with everyone, and have access to more people. In a democracy, everyone is trying to achieve personal success and have great tools to distract them from seeking God. It is almost impossible to live in a spiritual propaganda zone, the propaganda machines via news, tv, internet, always telling us we must fight for our freedoms, putting men's hearts in fear. Sometimes it could be easier to live in a war zone, than in a spiritual war zone.

Thank you, Bro. Rick - am so thankful you are having praise fits. Please pray that we here may all have some too.

Anonymous said...

Like Reagan said, "there you go again" - there I go again, forgetting to close my Anon. post with Anon J.

Anon. J.

Anonymous said...

Without a doubt miss forgetful, you have no idea how much love and joy you bring to others. Blood relatives not with standing, when you committed your life to Christ, you gave up vain earthly mother and sister, and was born into a new family; God's. And when you were adopted, you got loving, caring brothers and sisters.

Praise God, we got you!

Love you,
Cherie c.

Anonymous said...

Let the Praise session begin! Glory to God! Lift up HIGH the name of JESUS! THANK YOU LORD! LOVE YOU LORD!

Cherie c.

Evelyn S said...

Only the Spirit of God could have given you this profound insight into the insidious nature of the evil culture that's everywhere. I praise and give thanks to Almighty God for this post! Come Lord Jesus!

Reine Gnade said...

Where does all this energy come from that unbelievers have? I do know that when we get passionate about something we get a real boost in energy.

The key thing is to hunger and thirst or get passionate about glorifying God. If we get caught up in traveling to and fro for our own amusement we are not being obedient to Mathew 6:33.

It is a wrong use of energy for Almighty God ought to be our first focus.

Be encouraged for God is incredibly compassionate and delights to restore our energy levels.

Reine Gnade said...

I think it's important to mention that whether we are experiencing war or peace that we are in a spiritual war! This is made clear to us in 2 Corinthians 10:4.

The Lord God has a protective hedge around His children, but they don't sleep on cuddly cushions from morning to evening.

Although it is a huge blessing to serve Almighty God, followers of Jesus are suffering servants -though they also experience much love and joy!

Reine Gnade

John Hutchinson said...


Your comment on 'culture' is somewhat nonsense. I assure you that the Kingdom of God has a culture; an ethos, ethic, cosmological perspective, understanding on the nature of God and man, creative expressions etc just as all the cultures of the world do. And these underlay the conduct of its citizens, whether earthly or heavenly. Culture, in and of itself, is a neutral just as music, science etc. It is the overlay of ideas of Truth and the Good (which we believe our subjective perspective is supposed to be consistent with objective realities) etc which influence the entities that differentiate good culture from bad.

John H.