Last night’s Academy Awards reminded me that we, as believers in our Lord Jesus, are often going against the current of the popular culture. These Awards and many like it have become a prominent display of our culture’s values and the glorification of things that would offend God. I try not to be overly obnoxious in my dismay and just ignore these events. But they are the epitome, the prime example, of what John calls “loving the world and the things of this world.”
I remember being the unreasonable Dad when my girls were growing up. We were often the only one without cable TV, the only ones who did not go to many popular movies, and the only ones not to watch certain TV shows. Even Christian friends were taking their kids to many of the things which we found offensive.
Take Hannah Montana. Anyone remember that? Just a fun little TV show on the Disney Channel. She was a good role model and made good choices, our friends assured us. Even her off stage family seemed harmless. But something bugged me and I told Linda, we are NOT doing Hannah Montana. She will not be admired in our home. “You don’t know how long this innocent appearance will last before Hollywood corrupts her.” My girls that Dad was from another planet. Why would I say such a thing?
Fast forward just a few years and the bloom faded and any semblance of Miley Cyrus being a good role model quickly disappeared. I don’t regret that my children were never allowed to become her fans. But I was the bad guy for a while.
So often we want to be the “cool parents.” We want our children to see us as being up to date. I remember my girls having a best friend whose Mom and Dad wore clothes that were 10-15 years out of date (being polyester, they held up amazingly well). I knew that the parents strongly supported many missionaries and any discretionary money went to reach the world and not pad their wardrobe. But they could have frequented the Crisis Pregnancy Center Thrift Shop to avoid embarrassing their daughter.
But they took to heart some New Testament verses that many of us should at least seriously consider: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:15-17)
John is kind of harsh here, don’t you think. He seems awfully black and white. Really? I can’t love the world and the Father at the same time? C’mon!
But this is not John speaking, but God. He’s not being harsh, He’s being jealous of the love relationship which He wants with us and with each of our children. He speaks even more plainly in James 4:4 — “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
Did you miss the Oscars this year or are you like some people who have to see every minute? Are we woke up to challenge of being a good role model for our children? Are we woke to being a picture of faithfulness to the Lord our God? I encourage you, for the sake of your children, to put off such things that glorify the “lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and the pride of life.”
Whether the award ceremonies, professional sports, fancy cars, you fill in the blank with your temptation… All of us feel the tug of the world. May God grant us the discernment to fix our eyes and our affections on Jesus only. Our children will follow us as we follow Jesus. Christopher