We watched the last in a five-part series by Craig Groeschel called Soul Detox today in our Sunday morning adult Bible study. I’ve been writing about these classes for the past couple week, because I think Craig has great insight to the struggle we have as Christians living in a toxic world. Today Craig focused on how cultural norms actually can pollute our Christian walk.Lisa and I watched the video last night in preparation for today’s class. During the whole thing she had that, “See, I told you so” look on her face. The premise is simple – some of us watch movies, listen to music, hang around people, tell jokes, surf websites and do other socially acceptable things that are not honoring to God and separate us from our relationship with Him.
Craig asked a really powerful question during the video: Are you entertained by sin? My answer – unfortunately – is yes. Or as the Apostle Paul would say, of all the sinners, I am the worst. My taste especially in movies is pretty dark. I like action films (read gun play and death); I like horror films; I like bad B movies. And I kind of cringe watching family or Christian films, although I found the movies Joshua and Courageous to be pretty good. My taste for entertainment is pretty secular…which really is a bad thing.
In explaining why this is bad, Craig used this awesome example. He told the story of a kid who went to his mom and asked if he could see a movie, telling her that there was only a little bit of bad stuff in it. She said sure, but first she wanted to make him her famous brownies. The kid eagerly agreed. So mom goes out to the yard, grabs a little bit of dog poop and mixes it into the brownies and bakes them up. When they are done, she tells the kid “Here you go!” but notes that there is a little bit of dog poop in them. The kid responds accordingly and won’t eat the brownies! The point was a little bit of poop goes a long way! We may want to engage in culturally acceptable things that have poop in them so we have to think twice!
The point I most like from Craig was we should not become “legalistic” or rigid in how we are about this. I think we’ve all met those holier than thou righteous types who so alienate everyone with their judgmental attitude that they actually marginalize themselves and cannot shine Christ’s light. Craig used the example of people saying you can only listen to Christian music or watch Christian movies. That is not what I see Jesus doing in scripture. He ate with sinners and tax collectors, protected the adulterer, and came for the sick not the healthy. He gave us the example of how to be in this world but not of it. I am sure that Jesus was around a lot of ungodly stuff, but it did not affect Him because He was grounded in His faith and did not internalize it or own it as His.
Craig calls the book the Message a type of devotional of scripture. That is the best description I have ever heard! Using the Message, Craig points out Romans 12:2: “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you and respond to it quickly. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God bring the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit right in. Isn’t that a great way to think about it? I have to admit, I have a lot of work to do in this area. I’ve made great strides in my language, in my care of others, in my effort to be an encourager, but I suck at my movie choices, the jokes that make me laugh, and my ability to be numb to violence in the world. There are areas in my life where I am desensitized and other areas that are just white noise that I ignore. I have a long way to go.
How about you? Are you willing to take a look at your life and see if you have fallen to the culture at the expense of your relationship with God? We use the churchy word Sanctification when we explain that as God’s people we are set apart from everyone else. As sanctified or set apart believers, we really need to act in a way that is set apart from the culture in which we live and walk through our life the way Jesus showed us during his time on Earth. It’s extremely hard, but let’s commit together to try by taking a step at a time to honor God with our entertainment and life choices.