Our world and culture are changing rapidly. Social norms are not what they used to be. Where there was once agreed-upon absolute truth, there is now a belief that “What’s true for you is not true for me.”
As followers of Christ in an ever-changing world, we must ask ourselves this question: Will I change the world, or will the world change me? Will I bend to popular opinion, or will I stand for the timeless truths of God’s Word no matter how unpopular they may be?
One thing is clear in Scripture: Culture changes, but God doesn’t. In Malachi 3:6 God declared, “I am the LORD, and I do not change.” As a believer, you have to know what can change and what can’t.
In the book of Daniel, Daniel and his friends give us a great example of how to serve God in a culture that doesn’t align itself with God’s will. In Daniel, Chapter 1, we see these four young men have been abducted as slaves to Babylon. They were identified as knowledgeable men with great potential and were brought to live in the king’s palace. What’s the lesson?
When culture shifts, do these three things:
Remember your identity. The first thing the Babylonians did was rename the Hebrew boys (Daniel 1:6-7). If you don’t remember your identity, the world will label you. There is one place you can go to remember your true identity: God’s Word.
Who does God’s Word say you are? It says you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. He has called you out of darkness and into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). You have been set apart as holy unto God!
Reaffirm your convictions. How does God’s Word define acceptable behavior, common practices and moral standards? Remember this: We are God’s children, bought at a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). In an ever-changing moral climate, when we remember who we are, we’re reminded of how we should behave.
Resist your enemy. After renaming the Hebrew boys, the Babylonians then told them to eat from the king’s table. For Daniel and his friends, this meant breaking the law of God.
It was a temptation to live according to the cultural norms instead of God’s law. They had to resist temptation. (Daniel 1:8-16).
Daily the enemy tempts us. We must be ready to resist. “Submit yourselves to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Every day we must put on the armor of God and be ready to do battle — to defend ourselves, and to stand for what we are convinced is right.
We find the power to do all three of these things in Jesus Christ. He clothes us in the righteousness of His identity. He shows us how to live, and because of the cross we have victory over our enemy. When we feel the pressure to change with culture, we must cling to Christ.
Adam Detamore is pastor of Realife Church in Greenfield. This weekly column is written by local clergy members.