It’s as if we have rolled over and given up. Appeasing our own personal desires and allowing sin to live with us, within us. We’ve become oblivious to its’ infestation in our own homes. Everyone is doing what they think is right in their own eyes just as they did in Judges. Sin has eaten away at the righteousness we’ve been given through Christ and once again we’re left with ﬁg leaves and ﬁlthy rags. We are sleeping with the enemy rather than slaying sin as we ought. And like Lucy Pevensie we were lulled to sleep by a soft and deceptive melody. One we allowed to be played. And we sang along.
A Harsh Reality
As we are awakening, the angst which drapes us is heavy. A new president is about to be selected and there is an uneasiness we’ve never felt surrounding an election. This person, they say, will wield the power to shape our country for decades to come. The deﬁnition of marriage is being redeﬁned. Marriage seems to have no objective deﬁnition. And gender is just as fuzzy (arguably more so). The internet is still being ﬁlled with videos of black men (whose lives matter) being shot by police ofﬁcers (whose lives matter). And we are always two clicks from pornography. The victims of that industry matter too. So do the lives of the unborn. And refugees. And transgendered people.
It seems evangelicals are losing a foothold. Maybe we lost it long ago. The enemy has crept across battle lines while we entertained ourselves with “little sins”. Our living rooms have been ﬁlled with extramarital affairs, drunkenness, drugs, homosexuality, and violence for far too long. This is not an accusation against media. We invited it in. It’s an accusation against us. iPhones and gaming systems are not the enemy. The internet and TV are not paving the way to hell. We have shaped these things. And now they are shaping us. And they aren’t going anywhere. We’ve compromised, one small sin at a time, until our lives are now cluttered with idols we’ve twisted and formed for our own entertainment. As in Exodus 32, we stand awkward before our God, trying to achieve bewilderment, as we explain how these golden calves just leapt spontaneously from the ﬁre.
The glaring light of this harsh new world blinds us, assaulting our senses. A bomb explosion. Our ears ringing. Trying to regain our wits. It seems almost post-apocalyptic. A world where God is dead and Debauchery is king. Self-gratifying indulgence rules. Don’t ignore it; explore it. If it feels good, do it. Where have we landed? Have we been given over completely to our lusts and desires (Romans 1)? Have we danced with the prince of this world long enough we’ve forgotten the sure and steady grasp of King Jesus? Let us repent of our adultery that we may return to the Lord!! God, have us back!!
From Yawns To Yells
By God’s grace, maybe we are waking up. The late poet Dylan Thomas implores us, “Do not go gentle into that good night”. He writes with urgency to ﬁght against mortal death and begs his father to bless him (or curse him), just to give him something with which to ﬁght. So what are we to do in our homes, for our kids, and for ourselves?
Sure you can remove televisions from your home, take away iPhones, restrict app access, monitor game ratings. And some of that you should do!! But there is a ﬁrst step. A better step. Spoken words. Remember those? One of those gifts God gives us that shows a sharp separation between His image bearers and the rest of the created things. Words bring life and death and give meaning and shape understanding.
We must speak into the darkness, not just about it. We spend too much time listening to ourselves and not enough time talking to ourselves. Preach the Word to yourself and to your friends and to your family. (Colossians 3:16) Don’t wait until Sunday to hear it. Hear it now!!
Conversations. It seems so simple, right? It’s a directive from Deuteronomy 6. As you sit at home watching TV or folding clothes or eating dinner…As you walk (or drive) along the way to school or work or the gym…As you lie down at night and as you wake up in the morning…talk about the goodness of the Lord. Talk about His character. His creativeness. His beauty. His eternality.
Watch a TV show with your child. Pause it and talk about good decisions the characters are making. Ask about what emotion is being felt by the character in conﬂict. Use opportunities to bridge to scripture. It takes practice, but it doesn’t take a degree. There is no specialization, it’s just intentionality. It’s what Paul did as he made his Areopagus address. He raised their gaze from something cultural, temporal, and shadowy to something (or Someone) who is eternal!
When your teen walks in with white wires pouring out of their ears ask what they are listening to. Don’t explode with anger when they respond with Drake, The Chainsmokers, or Florida Georgia Line. Just say, “Hey, let’s talk about the lyrics to some of your favorite music.” During the course of the conversation probe them for why they like it, what it means, is it true, and always press toward a bridge to the Gospel. Seek to teach and to learn.
We can’t run from culture. We have to shape it. We can’t hide from it or pretend it isn’t there. We must learn to speak into it. We are image bearers of the One True God. We are marked by His grace, set apart for His purpose, guided by His Spirit. Let us not go gently into the night!
Listen to the words of poet and prophet Propaganda,
“When they’re closing all the curtains to convince you that it’s night time, don’t believe them. When they tell you it’s a must to have it and you can’t live without it, you don’t need it. When they tell you this and only this is beautiful, tell them ‘I don’t see it’.”
We must instill something in our children that is not fear and is not pride. We must give them eyes to see beyond what is in front of their faces and set their gaze on eternity and the God who holds it all by the word of His power.