“My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.” – 1 John 2:1.
Self-defense is big business. This year, more than six million American children will participate in martial arts—the art of self-defense. At the same time, millions of Christians need self-defense classes as well. It seems as if Christianity is under attack from all sides, so we need to be trained to defend our faith and defend ourselves from outside influences that interfere, distract or hinder our spiritual growth. And culture can be one of those influences.
Culture is a part of our lives. Since we are all social creatures, we are wired to want other people to like us and to belong. We have to be careful because culture has shifted to the point where right and wrong are no longer measured by Biblical standards but by popular opinion. As a result, Christians everywhere are asking the same question: How are we supposed to respond to our culture and live under God at the same time? Or in other words, what would it take to live under God and not waver. What is the defense against being drawn into our culture and having a hard time coming back?
The devil’s devices are not pitchforks, flames, and a pointy tail. Instead, they are things that have great appeal, like what culture offers. And what culture offers is often at odds with God’s standards. Satan tries to deconstruct the need to live under God by painting the picture of deception beautifully with immediate gratification. His whole intent is for you to stop trusting in Jesus and live a life of doing what you want when you want to do it.
We need self-defense. Self-defense, or predetermined resolutions that keep us from going into the danger area. These predetermined resolutions, or strategic action steps, are designed to stop you before you get into a danger. They are designed to keep you from going any further or getting in any deeper. Proverbs 22:3 says, “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” It is very much like getting preventive maintenance on your car. Preventing a breakdown is much easier and usually cheaper than getting the car fixed when it breaks down. So, what is the best defense to avoid being influenced by culture?
We need predetermined resolutions in areas such as our time, money, self-worth, entertainment, words, and addictions to name a few. In those areas we need defensive rules or resolutions that are from our heart and intricately connected to God. Remember that God loves us, forgives us, and wants the best for us. The predetermined resolutions that will keep you from getting to a place of sin. They are intentional boundaries you make that will keep you focused on God. They are intricately connected to your conscience so that when you break them, you feel it. For example: surround yourself with people who keep telling you the truth. Learn and embrace the discipline that God outlines in the Bible. Trust the Holy Spirit and focus on the truth of God instead of listening to and believing the lies of the evil one.
- Is culture one of the common tactics that the enemy uses to hinder the work of God? Why or why not?
- How can you recognize when culture is seeping into your life and defend yourself?
- What can we do this week to be influencers of culture rather than be influenced by culture.