Trying to live Upside Down

More and more I find myself aware of how different my world-view and values system are from the world around me.  At the same time, there are a number of places where I find that I have absorbed from the world around me that are not only indifferent to God’s word, but in some cases contrary to it.  Yet we are surrounded daily by a culture that tells us the ‘truth’ comes from somewhere other than God’s Word.  The smartest and best in our culture are employed to convince us that we need certain things to be complete or happy.  We are told we need to smell a certain way, use a particular brand of toothpaste, get more gusto from life by drinking a given brand of beer, etc.  Those things are easier to identify.  Subtle cultural messages about values in life can lurk under the surface without our seeing them for what they are: lies.

Recently a column from MSN Living by Matthieu Ricard caught my eye.  It was titled “10 Things You Think Will Make You Happy – But Won’t.”  As I read it, I was struck with the fact that Ricard was telling us that the very things our culture tells us are worth full0-put pursuit won’t give us the promised results we are looking for.  I won’t give you the list because I hope you’ll click on the link and read the article now.   This columnist makes no pretense of being a spiritual advisor just an observer about life and how it works.  It is amazing how consistent what he says is with the words of scripture and the teachings of the gospel.  It seemed to me that he was saying that we expect these things to give us happiness and meaning, but it is a lie.

As we try to live and discover the truth of life as God reveals it in Jesus, I am reminded how much I need God’s perspective to analyze the world in which I live critically.  As we try to speak into the lives of our children and help them understand how to live meaningful and full lives, we must be aware of how much we are surrounded by a contrary message.  This is what makes being engaged in the scriptures, being present in worship that declares God’s truth and being in community with other believers tremendously important in order to clearly hear God’s voice so that we can follow faithfully.  We need one another to remind ourselves of the places where God challenges the message of the predominant message of the world and live in the light of God’s truth.  Jesus promises us that His Spirit will “lead us into all truth” (John 16:13) and James tells us that God gives wisdom to those who ask ‘generously and ungrudgingly.” (James 1:5)  Very often that insight of the Spirit comes in the community of believers.  We need one another!

What do you do to challenge these persistent subtle messages of our world that try to lead us away from the truth of God’s revelation?


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