Issue: So the question is, how do we act with child like faith, letting God make all the important decisions for us, without becoming lazy or idle? I used to get caught up on this, and still struggle with it from time to time: the balance between being a light to the world and being separated, holy, and righteous unto God.
Example: My personal issue had always been that when I pursued God, listened to His voice, and acted according to His Word, I became less and less concerned with the world and the things in it. Culture would begin to reek to me. I’d ask for the heart of God, that what grieves Him would grieve me…lo and behold, He would answer my prayer. Simple cultural norms would begin to cause me serious grief. While I was walking with God, literally talking to Him and thanking Him all throughout the day, I would become seriously afflicted with things that I had always enjoyed. I remember one day, in the middle of an intense period of pursuing God, I turned on the TV, and Saving Private Ryan was on. I love that movie (not just because it’s all about a guy named Ryan), but couldn’t even watch it. The violence and blood-shed really went straight to my heart. I realized this was God saying, “You wanted to know what grieves me…”
This sort of thing began happening on a regular basis, all throughout the day. Experiencing every day culture became an energy intensive process. Everything began to disgust me. This built up a monumental distaste for relationships. I had no desire to pursue relationships because I knew that every person was sin-ridden and would only taint my desire to pursue God to the next level.
It came to the point one Sunday afternoon, as I remember laying on the futon in my dorm, that I had a debate with God. God revealed that while He wants me to pursue righteousness, the people that I refused to be with were His children and creation. This was a turning point in the understanding of my relationship with God. As I seek Him, He leads me into understanding, which is purposed for seeking relationship with His children. As I look to God, He draws my gaze back to His creation. It is through His strength and wisdom that I am able to approach culture without being influenced by it.
Application: So then, when we pursue God, and He provides understanding, we should be asking the question – why did He give this to me? Was this for my own personal growth? Was it to share with a close friend or family member? Was it to give to a complete stranger? God hardly acts without purpose. He is the most intentional of orchestraters. Divine purpose exists all around us, waiting to be acknowledged.
Our response to His wisdom is to seek direction so that this new-found wisdom evolves into conscious action. Don’t be afraid to engage culture so that you may align it towards Kingdom mentality through godly wisdom. In fact, be intentional about this engagement. Every single follower of Jesus is a leader. We all have God-given responsibility to lead one another through encouragement and love. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you are too unrighteous to pursue God intimately. You will quickly find out, especially with the aid of Lucifer, that this fact is true. We are all unrighteous.
Instead, pursue God that He may MAKE you righteous. Pursue culture that He may strengthen you and establish a relationship with the world. IT is through providential relationship that Kingdom mentality rings across eternity. Relationship is non-negotiable, with church sinners and non-church sinners. Don’t be too timid, too bashful, too ashamed, too prideful or too humble to be entirely dedicated to living in relationship with God. If you have never felt awkward about your commitment level to God, you ought to re-examine that level of commitment.
How to stay balanced:
If you’ve taken the perspective that you need to blend in with culture to be an influence, ask yourself the question: How do you look and act different than culture that your influence isn’t influenced.
If you’ve taken the perspective that you need to withdraw from culture to be a righteous influence, ask yourself the question: What relationship do you have with culture that your influence may be heard?