2012/09/01

Darkness As The Light


Christians are called to be the light of the world. However, they have become part and parcel of its darkness. Instead of the world following their example, they are the ones following the world. When the world adopts a new trend, Christians take it up immediately without stopping to ask what inspired it. When the world comes up with sexually oriented dancing styles, Christians embrace them and incorporate them into praise and worship. When the world comes up with clothes designed to arouse sexual interest (note that such clothes are labeled “sexy”), Christians rush to keep up with the new fashion. When the world says ‘This is the right way to go’, Christians jump into the bandwagon.
 However, what does the Bible say about all this? Let us have a look: 
You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. - James 4:4
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. - 1 John 2:15- 17
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. - Romans 12:2
 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” - John 15:18-19
Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. -1 Peter 2: 11-12
I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. - John 17:14-16
The above scriptures plainly show that Christianity and the world do not fit on the same page. The very fact that Jesus Christ described His disciples as the light of the world was an indication that the world is lost and needs their guidance, not vice versa. It is Christians who should steer the world away from its depraved ways into the light of God’s ways. They should not be like chameleons which constantly change color to match that of their surroundings. Christians are supposed to transform the world, not conform to it.
In a bid to ‘fit in’, Christians have tailored everything to match the worldly pattern and order of things, and have adopted many things that are contrary to the teachings of the Bible. For example, the Bible teaches that women should dress decently so as not to provoke lust in men. However, Christian women are now wearing revealing, skimpy clothes that have been designed with the motive of arousing men’s sexual interests, all in the name of measuring up to the current fashion.
Christian services and concerts as well have not been left out of this. They have been adapted to look as flashy and glitzy as the secular ones. You will be forgiven for thinking that you have lost your way and entered into a night club when you walk into some of them. It is no wonder that nowadays you will find many so-called modernized gospel songs being freely mixed in with secular rhythms in night clubs as part of the entertainment, and being easily danced to without any conviction coming upon the revelers (click here to confirm). Some of them do not even mention the name of God at all, while others have “contemporarily” stylized the holy name of Jesus Christ to the initials ‘JC’. However, it is important to note that the more un-“contemporarized” worship songs that have passed the test of time and continue to usher people into an atmosphere of brokenness and deep worship are never subjected to the same treatment.
Some people believe that imitating the world is a way of drawing unbelievers and non-Christians to the faith. However, since when did light eliminate darkness by imitating it? Light is light because it is different from darkness. It is this very property of light that attracts moths to a flame. Emulating the world only succeeds in causing people to feel that there is nothing wrong with their carnally-oriented practices and lifestyles. Try telling someone that there is something amiss with a particular practice when it has found its way into Christian circles. You will only be hitting against a stone wall.
When I was growing up, one of the quotes I often heard was ‘When you go to Rome, do what the Romans do’. Like any other ordinary child, I considered it to be a really wise saying, until sense and experience taught me otherwise. Should I drink poison just because those around me are doing so? Certainly not. If what the Romans are doing is wrong, it will still be wrong if I join them in doing it, and I will suffer the consequences of that foolishness along with them. Similarly, Christians should not foolishly embrace whatever the world throws their way just because ‘everyone else is doing it’ and ‘it’s the “in-thing” to do’.
Why then have Christians tailored everything to match the worldly pattern and order of things? Is it so as to get the world’s approval and avoid receiving the tags that it gives to those who do not follow its lead? Jesus said that the world would certainly hate His disciples and speak evil of them.

All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. -Matthew 10:22
They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. - 1 Peter 4: 4- 5
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. - Matthew 5:11-12 
It should therefore not come as a surprise to hear such tags as ‘ancient’, ‘not with it’, ‘behind-the-times’, ‘plain’, ‘too conservative’, ‘old-fashioned’, 'Holy-Joe' and so on, being given to those who do not join the  conformity bandwagon. Righteousness has never been and will never be popular. That is why the Bible describes the way to God’s kingdom as a narrow road that has only a few people on it. On the other hand, the road to hell is the popular one that sits well with the majority of people.
Matthew 7:13-14
The kingdom of God has never been about numbers. Jesus said that only a few people will be saved. These are those who remain steadfast in righteousness and do not get carried away by the deceptive and corrupted ways of the world. During Noah’s day, only eight people out of the documented large population (see Genesis 6:1) were saved when God sent a destructive flood upon the earth. Jesus Christ said that the same situation will apply at the end of the age when He comes to pick His holy flock (see Matthew 24: 37-39).
In a world that is prophetically getting darker and darker, it is now more critical than ever for Christians to remain very sensitive and alert to the voice of The Holy Spirit, so as not to get lost in the persistent darkness or allow it to grow on them. In Matthew 25, Jesus indicated that the kingdom of God shall belong to those who will have kept their lamps (salvation) burning and full of oil (The Holy Spirit). It was at midnight (the time of greatest darkness), that the bridegroom they had been waiting for (Jesus Christ) came and took the wise virgins with him. 
The Ten Virgins

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." - Matthew 5: 14- 16
“that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” - Philippians 2:15

For more on the meaning of the parable of the 10 virgins, click here and here.