“I believe that the challenge of living with popular culture may well be as serious for modern christians as persections and plagues were for saints of earlier centuries” – Ken Myer, All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes
I’ve been preparing some messages to teach next month in Russia at a conference for some pastors and church workers. The plan is to teach through most of 1 Peter. I came across Myer’s quote in my message notes from a 1990 sermon. I think this may be even more true 17 years later. The church today encounters a culture that is pervasive, shallow and subtly dangerous … and the church today still seems to have little power to make a difference.
Possibly because we have forgotten who we are and what we are to be doing as believers in this world. Peter addresses this when he calls his readers to be radically different than the world around them – living out our unique identity in Christ – an identity he labels “aliens and strangers”. We are pilgrims, travellers, sojourners but not residents of this world. Ever since God “delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingodom of his beloved son” (Col. 1:13) we have not belonged to this world. We became divine defectors with a citizenship that is now in heaven (Phil. 3:20). As the old song says “this world is not my home.” This brings to mind several practical thoughts:
- We should not expect that the citizens of this world will fully accept us for who we are. Yet so many never seem to stop trying?
- We must never forget that we represent our new king and kingdom. That’s why Peter tells us to keep our behavior excellent.
- We must not become too at home in this world.
- We need be prepared to “travel”; to be able to respond to God’s call on our lives. How bogged down are we with the things of this world?
I’ll let you know how well this translates into Russian.