I have a confession to make. I am a total news junkie. I was surely the only girl in my dorm to get the Wall Street Journal delivered to my mailbox. During my college job, I spent my lunch break glued to MSNBC so I could track the stock market’s movement that day. My poor college roommate. How many hours of news did she endure in our tiny apartment? No wonder she cranked up George Strait in her bedroom! I think it all stems from the fact that I was becoming an adult at such a news-rich time. The stock market was hitting its peak, the Bush/Gore recount happened during my honeymoon (and yes we watched some of the coverage from our hotel room in Italy…. sexy I know!) And September 11th happened the next year.
These days I struggle to keep up with the news because I am sorely lacking two things… cable television and the time to pay attention to anything besides feeding/teaching/cleaning up after my 5 cherubs. But i do my best via Twitter, Drudge, Rush, Mark Steyn, etc.
But even if you’re not a news junkie like me, you surely know that all is not well in the world. From the horror of ISIS to Russian aggression to the rise of antisemitism, the world seems at the brink. Honestly, I wake up each day and wonder, “is today the day” that something life-changing, even world-changing happens? But truthfully, I believe that the demise of our culture and way of life will not be sudden. In fact, that might be easier to bear than the alternative. What I see coming for America (and happening already) is a slow, gradual slide into a mediocre existence. A place where tyrants are tolerated, brave men are few and morals are non-existent. Where the Church is silent or even approving of so many things that are against the teachings of Jesus.
So that’s all super depressing right? Is there anything we can do? How can we prevent the demise of America and the American church? Here are a few of my thoughts:
1. Read the Bible. I’m all for reading Christian books, blogs and listening to sermons. But nothing can replace the Living Word of God. My kids are memorizing John 1 and the first verse just hit me like a brick. “In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God.” It’s so easy to look to everything/everyone else, but the Author of our faith. Sadly, Bible reading has become almost obsolete in this country. I struggle with this discipline myself. But we must continue to struggle until it is a non-negotiable part of our day, our lives. You see, the Church will not be torn down from without, but from within (I believe). We see even now that a false gospel is taught every Sunday by so called “pastors” like Joel Osteen. The only way a believer can discern what is true is to hold up the church’s teachings against the standard of the Scripture. But if we never read the Scripture, we can’t make the comparison. And our flesh will quickly grab onto teachings that tickle our ears, instead of convicting our hearts.
2. Teach our children to walk in the Way. Who is the main voice in your children’s lives? Their teachers? Their coaches? Their grandparents? Their babysitters? Their friends? Characters on television? Musicians? You should be the overriding voice in your children’s lives. And you have to fight for this. Because the world longs to take that place. What does this mean practically speaking? For us, it means homeschooling and severely limiting outside voices that are contrary to the Gospel. Yes, we are sheltering them. Because that is what good parents do. They protect their young from danger. But we don’t stop with protecting. We are teaching them the Truth so that one day they can face all the contrary voices and still stand strong by the grace of God. I do not claim that our way should be everyone’s way. But every parent needs a plan to maintain that primary voice in their children’s lives.
3. Be holy as He is holy. Okay, I’m going to meddle (if I haven’t already.) I find it hard for someone to claim to be a believer in our Holy God and yet continually fill their minds with all that stands against his Gospel. How can we pretend to oppose the culture while opening wide our doors to all of its messages? How many Christians watch trash on TV? Game of Thrones, Criminal Minds, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance (oh, how I wish I could watch that!), Modern Family. Have I hit a nerve yet? How about music? Do we listen to songs that glorify sexual promiscuity or use foul language? What about books? Should we move onto movies next? I’ll just write four words. Fifty Shades of Grey. You may disagree vehemently with me on this. But I challenge you to put this verse above your television and judge all that you watch by it. Trust me, you’ll have way more time on your hands:
…”always think about what is true. Think about what is noble, right and pure. Think about what is lovely and worthy of respect. If anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think about those kinds of things.” (Phil. 4:8)
No one is going to force any of us to do these things. We can all choose to ride the wave down the descent of culture and melt into the mushpot of mediocrity that awaits (and possibly an eternity of separation from God… yes I just said that) or we can choose to align ourselves with God Almighty. To throw off all that stands against Him and to teach our children to do the same. What would America look like with a Church who stood tall upon the great Cornerstone of Jesus? What would happen if His name was proclaimed with abandonment to a world dying without Him? How would your city, your company, your country be different if there was a remnant there who was unmoved by the cultural decline?
It begins with you. Will you stand?