The world my grandchildren will know is very different from the world of my childhood. Or even the world my children grew up in. We live in a highly sexualized culture that permeates everything. Greed, selfishness, and self-indulgence also run rampant.
It seems it gets harder every day for a Christ-follower to navigate the landmines of our society. Morals and values have shifted dramatically away from God’s standards. Almost every day another story in the news demonstrates this ongoing clash between the world’s values and God’s standards. (For more info see Ed Stetzer’s article on Christian responses to cultural change in Christianity Today.)
3 ways Christians Deal with the Culture Clash
- Separate from the world – Granted, it’s easier to live by God’s standards if we remove ourselves from the influence of the world. But there’s one big problem with that. In doing so, we also remove the influence of Christ from the world. Jesus calls us to go out into the world and take the Gospel (John 17:14-18), not hunker down in a holy bunker.
- Live by God’s standards out in the world – This is the hardest road to walk. But God promised that through His divine power, He has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). With discipline, intentionality, and constant dependence on the Holy Spirit, we can live lives that please God and honor the name of Christ.
- Compromise in one or more areas – Although some believers do simply throw up their hands without even trying to live by God’s standards, the majority of us simply straddle the fence here and there. Sometimes we compromise. Sometimes we think God’s way is “too hard” or “too boring” or just “too weird” compared to the world.
4 Reasons Christians Compromise with the Culture:
So why do we do it? Why do followers of Christ sometimes follow the world? Here are four reasons based on time in God’s Word and a bit of observation:
- Indulge our own desires – This is probably the most frequent reason. We have sinful desires and sometimes we give in to them. Let’s remember – We never have to give in to temptation. God will always provide a way out if we will take it (1 Corinthians 10:13).
- Ignorance of God’s Word – Sometimes believers live like the world in one or more areas simply because they don’t know God’s standard. Yet God calls us to “not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance,” but to be holy in all we do (1 Peter 1:13-15). Thankfully we can learn since we have full access to His Word! (Also see “God’s Truth Trumps Culture Every Time.”)
- Fear of being “labeled” – Sometimes believers worry more about what the world will think of us than what God will think of us. We don’t want to be considered a “bigot” or “self-righteous.” We don’t want to be different or stand out in a crowd. So we compromise to fit in.
- Misguided attempt to be relevant – I’ve heard and seen Christians – even Christian leaders – dress and speak in questionable ways in an attempt to connect with the culture. If our speech or dress or behavior shocks or offends even a handful of Christians in the room, we should reconsider. Jesus and His message of salvation are always relevant. We don’t have to compromise to share them.
Do you find it hard to live by God’s standards in this world? Is one of these four reasons a bigger struggle than the others? Why do you think that is?