18 March 2019
Reading: Joshua 1-2; Psalm 37; 1 Corinthians 3
18 Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.” (1 Corinthians 3:18-19 NLT)
I’m a student of current culture. I try to stay current with what’s happening in our society and the world. I subscribe to ministry journals and newsletters and regularly read blogs and articles related to trends in church culture and ministry. I get my national and world news from carefully selected, largely unbiased sources. I know my way around the internet and I’m making the effort to be up-to-date with the times! Friend me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jimastephens and follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jimastephens.
But friends, there’s a constant tension between being up-to-date on the culture, and thinking that being “up-to-date” or “cutting-edge” in life and ministry is what really matters! We could get to the place where we’re as up-to-date as today’s news, able to talk about the latest in sports, entertainment, technology, and politics, and be stupid in the things that matter most.
It’s important to balance our exposure to pop culture with exposure to God-culture! We can do that through daily Bible reading and journaling, through conversations that deeply and practically discuss real issues, through spiritual disciplines of quiet and contemplation, and through diligent, determined practice of the teachings of Jesus. These things are perhaps our greatest protection against the extremes of cultural irrelevance or cultural assimilation.
For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love. (Galatians 5:6 MSG)
I’d rather be God’s fool than a fool in God’s eyes.
Father, Please help me never to become a stuck-in-the-past religious fool or a cutting-edge, pop-culturally-aware secular fool. May I live with the wisdom and courage to develop and teach the values and practices that keep me on the “God’s fool” side of the line. Amen.