We live in a culture that is endeavoring to abolish distinctions that God has established. This is obvious on many fronts: the definition of life, the definition of marriage, gender classifications, and many other moral inconsistencies. As we endeavor to shine as lights in a dark world, it has become increasingly clear that we have become a moral minority, fringing upon irrelevance, from the world's perspective, to our own national culture. What's more, in a culture like what ours is becoming, fear can begin to paralyze us into silent gospel proclamation. Our thinking, our philosophy, our theology have become obtuse to the people we live next door to, work with, or shop with. If we allow it, this contrast can freeze our witness and deaden our desire to proclaim Christ.
Now we can allow this contrast to freeze us in our spiritual tracks, or we can recognize that we are no exception in the last 2,000 years of people following Jesus. Indeed, the first followers of Jesus lived in tremendous contrast to their own cultures. As a prime example of this truth, consider 1 Corinthians 2:1-9; this passage presents a series of contrasts evident in a believer's life. Just a few Sunday evenings ago following the wonderful preaching of Brayden Wells and Carson Wulf, Pastor Duttry suggested these young men study 1 Corinthians 2:1-9. Knowing that just a few days later, I would travel to serve on an ordination council of another fine Christian leader, I took his suggestion to heart and began to study this selection. I would encourage you to read that passage for yourself. After doing so, would you consider these two contrasts relevant to the Christian life that I observed in this passage?
First, this passage contrasts the perfect Christ with His imperfect followers. Paul mentioned that he lacked excellent speech or wisdom; moreover, he demonstrated fear, weakness, and trembling while ministering to others. Many times as I serve Christ in this world, I feel the same as Paul did. But then Paul described Jesus Christ. He is the Lord of Glory! What a contrast! I am so thankful that I get to serve the Lord of Glory. And more than that, I am thankful that our Lord allows His flawed, weak, and frail children to serve Him.
Second, this passage contrasts followers of Jesus with the world's great leaders. Our world honors celebrities with posters and followers and gifts and influence. Leaders the world over honor themselves and write off Jesus. But in this passage, the princes of this world "... come to nought: ...." On the other hand, the children of God can't even imagine what God has in store for them: "... Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." The princes of the world will one day perish and be forgotten, but those who know Jesus Christ and Him crucified will receive eternal life!
The world would say that it doesn't make sense for someone to give their life to Christ. But from God's perspective, it makes perfect sense to go against what the world has to offer. Standing out for Christ implies that "... your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." Does this describe your relationship with our culture? It certainly is something I need to revisit in my own life.
Written by Edward Barclay