We continue our journey on the C3 May theme of “Empowered to be His Witness” with a focus on the controversial topic of engaging culture. Jesus paid the price for our salvation and empowered us with the Holy Spirit to be His witnesses throughout the world so we would positively impact the world around us. The world can be a dark place, but as we reflect the light of His glory, we dispel the darkness.
Many followers of Christ take one of two paths. Either we isolate from the world, or we become militant warriors out to destroy anyone who disagrees with our ideology. Jesus did not model either of these approaches, so how do we engage culture to positively reflect His teaching?
Establish a Foundation of Truth
To positively engage culture, we must begin with the foundation of a biblical worldview to establish a foundation of Truth that we can build our lives upon. The Barna Group is a respected organization that monitors cultural trends and their research shows that only 17 percent of Christians who consider their faith important and attend church regularly actually have a biblical worldview.
Early in my faith journey, a mentor would challenge me to make sure my thoughts and behavior aligned with scripture. He would tell me it is easy to make emotional decisions that may sound good, feel good, or be accepted by others that could be contrary to the Truth of God’s Word. This challenge led me to the discipline of reading through the Bible each year to gain a deeper understanding of the Truth.
Jesus tells us in John 14:21, “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” As we view the cultural issues through the lens of Truth, we can navigate through the treacherous cultural waters and learn to apply this truth to our lives each day we walk on this earth.
Apply Truth to Our Daily Lives
Knowing Truth is the first step to positively engaging culture and the application of this truth is equally important. The Apostle John articulates this principle for us in 1 John 3:18, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” In the multimedia society in which we live, talk is abundant and action based on Truth is limited. So how do we apply Truth to our daily lives to transform our lives and positively engage culture?
I remember growing up in a home where my father read the bible each day but would look for verses that would support his ideology, but he did not allow the truth of God’s word to transform his life. This level of hypocrisy drove me from a desire to have a relationship with Christ because what I saw was not Truth, but the warped ideology of man. It took me over 20 years to overcome this experience and realize my earthly father and his ideology did not represent my Heavenly Father and the Truth of who He is. I am thankful for my Heavenly Fathers patience with me through this process and the forgiveness He was able to give me toward my father before he died.
I bought into the lie that my father’s ideology represented Christianity and a relationship with Christ. Many of us have bought into lies or have formed ideologies that do not represent Truth. We do not need to be in bondage as I was for many years due to lies and ideologies that do not represent Truth. Our Heavenly Father desires us to be free so that we can have the relationship with Him we were created to have. The Apostle Paul tells us in Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” His desire is for us to be free so that we may be in relationship with Him and reflect His love to others.
Engage with Love
When we know the Truth that sets us free and we are free to walk out this truth with confidence, we can engage culture in a positive light with the love and respect we are called to exhibit. The Apostle Peter reminds us in 1 Peter 3:13-15, “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened. But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
Whether we agree with a person’s ideology or worldview, we are to respect them as a human being created by God. However, this does not mean we have to compromise our values, but we are to reflect His Truth as we engage culture. This is not easy to do in the hostile environment we find ourselves, but as a follower of Christ speaking the Truth in love is not an option. We can depend on the Holy Spirit to guide us as we apply the Truth wherever He has placed us.
To get more information and join the South Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce (SC-C3) movement, go to www.sc-c3.org and become a member today!
Jamie Jordan is the State Director for the South Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce (SC-C3). His passion is to see unity and excellence exhibited within the Christian community. Jamie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.