How do we impact a culture that less and less cares about what we have to say as Christians?
Short answer: We live like Jesus.
If that is the case, do people see Jesus in your life? More pointedly. What difference does Jesus make in your life? Really, what advantage today does following Jesus bring? Can you express that? Does your neighbor see it? Your kids? Maybe you aren’t a Christian, and you’d like to know the answer. We live in a culture that often views religion as dangerous, and the idea of Christian values being a good thing for many is a historical idea. In the US, Christianity is often relegated to a voting demographic, and many see the views of Christians as dangerous, narrow-minded, or bigoted. Interestingly, many have no issue with Jesus but want nothing to do with the church or Christians.
What’s the solution?
The church has thrived and best represented God’s heart for the world when it looks like Jesus. When it shines. When people around us may not believe what we say, but they are convinced we do. They then actually want us around. Our very lives shine as Jesus' followers because regardless of the culture around us we can live for Jesus.
Writing to a church that was a minority group within the city, these words from Paul still ring true today.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.
This quote is taken from the broader context of a letter that Paul wrote to a church in Philippi in the first century. They weren’t wondering if they were Christian. This quote addresses those living the way of Jesus to encourage, strengthen and motivate them to carry on.
You are to be a living example of the implications of following Jesus. In the words of this letter, we “shine like stars” in the midst of our culture that so desperately needs Jesus. To communicate the good news of Jesus comes through our words, but especially in a culture that would question the value of Christianity, our actions speak louder and louder. This isn’t new but is the very environment Christianity has always thrived in.
We don’t point our finger in a moralizing way, but we live for Jesus in the day-to-day through our relationships, budget, retirement plans, vacations, hobbies, family decisions, weekend choices, and entertainment. We let God work through us as we work out our salvation. You “see” it in Christian's lives.
The more of us living this way, the brighter the light shines.
How do we impact a culture that less and less cares about what we have to say? We live like Jesus. Regardless of the culture around us, we live for Jesus. The church has thrived, and best represented God’s heart for the world when it looks like Jesus. When it shines.
Q. What is challenging for me about living in a culture that doesn’t value the same things I do?
Q. How can I continue to relate and be fully present with those around me while living for Jesus fully?