Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Stepping Out of This World's Parade

Not long ago I had the opportunity to spend several days with some teenagers who've grown up overseas because of the work their parents do. We spent some time discussing parts of A.W. Tozer's The Pursuit of God. One of Tozer's comments jumped off the page at me after hearing them describe their experiences both overseas and in the United States, particularly the American materialism that is so obvious to those who've grown up outside it. Concerning man's restoration of worshipful submission to the Creator, Tozer writes:
The moment we make up our minds that we are going on with this determination to exalt God over all, we step out of the world's parade. We shall find ourselves out of adjustment to the ways of the world, and increasingly so as we make progress in the holy way (94).
I think it's a similar sentiment that motivated these words from Paul Pressler, architect of the SBC conservative resurgence, in his book, A Hill on Which to Die:
In any great movement are individuals who sit back and watch to see which way the battle will go. When they see which side will prevail, they attach themselves to that side (297).
And it's not at all unlike Jason Janz' appeal to American believers to do something with their lives that doesn't make sense to pagans (or, if I may add, Christians who are virtually indistinguishable from pagans):
I’m afraid that when the lives of most Christians are examined, they make complete sense to the average pagan. Materially, we have houses, cars, retirement plans, and five kinds of insurance so that we can have “risk-free” living. When it comes to our time, we spend more time having fun than serving the poor. We spend more time playing with our toys than meeting as believers, provoking one another to love and good works. I’m afraid that our diversions have become our delight in America. When it comes to what we live for, I’m afraid we display Babylonian desires for the latest and greatest . . . just like the pagans.
So whether it's central city church planting or sacrificing reputation and status for the sake of the truth or spending your life in overseas missions work or something completely different, how are you stepping out of this world's parade?

3 comments:

Kent Brandenburg said...

I think most people would be amazed if they knew how much Scripture, and especially Jesus in the gospels, speaks about covetousness (materialism, discontent, etc.). Jesus told us to take no thought of what we would eat or put on, which fall below the category of cell phones. I preach through books, so I hit these things, but I do think special effort needs to hit this subject from Scripture. People should at least know what it is to covet and why that's wrong.

Pearson said...

Move to Detroit. The world is not moving this way! It is moving south.

Ben said...

Kent,

Thanks for preaching through books.

Pearson,

Been there, left that parade already.