Challenging times, these. A lot of what we see in pop culture, mainstream news, the entertainment industry, and our social media feeds promotes views and values that often seem incoherent, void of hope, or immoral. We get confused about what morality even is today, and whether anyone knows right from wrong anymore.
If you’re a committed follower of Jesus, you’ll find much of the predominant culture and worldview around you clashes with your faith. But it is so pervasive, that the influence it has on our worldview and values can be dangerously imperceptible, especially if we’ve grown up in this environment. Without thinking much about it, we begin to conform.
It often starts with gradually not caring so much about the details of what we believe, being relaxed in our standards and views, and just getting on with life. But when push comes to shove, we’re then at risk of caving in. At those moments of big life decisions, we turn more easily to the solutions our society offers, rather than biblical truth and our trust in God. We waver and fall, we conform to the world, and our faith gets watered down.
Yet, resistance is at the very core of our faith. Jesus prayed we would be in the world yet not of it. I love the non-conformist nature of this conviction, and the challenge to “fight the good fight”! In fact, I think this is one of the most attractive aspects of following Jesus, for a generation that wants change but doesn’t know how to go about it.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
Nancy Pearcey, in her book Saving Leonardo, outlines “a call to resist the secular assault on mind, morals, and meaning.” She shows how secularism has become not only the predominant view, but also an agenda strategically pushed in mass media across the board. At the same time, she points to the void this worldview leaves, leading to a growing hunger for something more. Resistance requires awareness of the problem and a realization that we’re in a fight for hearts and souls:
“The door is wide open to make a compelling case for Christianity as a positive agent of individual and cultural renewal. We must determine never again to get whipped because we didn’t know we were in a fight. Never again be blindsided by a secular agenda. … We must educate ourselves in a biblical worldview to maintain the integrity of our lives and our work, becoming a living alternative to the secular juggernaut.” (p.22)
As artists this matters big time. What we believe and what we communicate through our art matters. I think the key questions we need to be asking ourselves are: Are we resisting and proclaiming the radical truth of life in Jesus alone, or are we conforming and preaching a nice, humanistic message to please a crowd? Are we influencing culture with biblical truth and the message of the Gospel, or are we being influenced by it?
That’s one of the temptations of the secular humanist worldview - it’s a crowd pleaser in these times. Sharing a positive message about how to live a good and healthy life, how to be happy and prevail in difficult times, is much easier than challenging the philosophical status quo. Not conforming will mean questioning people’s assumptions, and ultimately pointing to sin, the need for repentance, and the truth in Jesus as the only one who can forgive and save us.
And that is, always has been, and forever will be the message of the Gospel. It is confrontational and non-conformist. It calls us to be dissatisfied with the world as it is, and to resist the spirit of the time. This is exactly what people are looking for. The truth doesn’t need to be watered down. This generation wants change and is waiting for the resistance to speak up.
So join the unrest!
Renew your mind!