I’d like to share with you part of a recent article by Jon Tyson entitled Breaking the Mold. It is based on Romans 12:1-2, the passage that we will cover in this Sunday morning’s sermon. The whole article can be seen at Christianity Today
Think about how these forces press us into the world’s view of normal:
- Education: Almost all education is secular, even at a kindergarten level. At the college or graduate school level, belief in God is often seen as childish at best, and a serious intellectual impediment.
- Media: Media is pervasive, pouring story after story into our lives, most of them contradictory to the way of Jesus. What was once held sacred has been transformed into entertainment. In most media, truth has been reduced to sound bites, and the sensational drowns out the substantive.
- Marketing: One commentator estimates that we see more advertisements in a single year of our lives than someone 50 years ago saw in an entire lifetime. We ourselves have been branded.
- Economics: We learn from our earliest years that more is better, and better is not enough. We spend much of lives trying to keep up acquire things and experiences in order to feel good about ourselves. The supreme value of life is how much we can acquire. Success is defined by one word: more.
- Sexuality: The message of our culture is that sex is purely physical, and that as long as no one is hurt, people can determine their own sexual practices. The rise of pornography has taken sex out of the bedroom and turned it into a form of entertainment.
- Religion: All religions are seen as equal and valid, and to claim that one is true and the others are not is cultural treason. The only belief you can hold with conviction is that there isn’t any true-for-everybody belief.
Growing up in a culture like this, we quickly find that a sermon on Sunday, or a weekly youth group talk, can hardly give us the tools to renew our minds and be transformed into the image of our Creator.
The author offers some challenges as part of the solution. He writes: we don’t need to withdraw from secular institutions but to engage them with the truths of the gospel. We need our best leaders in education, politics, media, arts, and international relations salting the world with the truth of Jesus and his heart for us all. He calls us back to passages like Philippians 1:21—to live is Christ; to die is gain—and 1 Peter 2:9-12, which calls us to abstain from sinful desires and live good lives right in the midst of the world around us. And he reminds us of Romans 12:1-2, calling us to be transformed by the power of God rather than conforming to the fruitless and empty ways of the world.