Nadine Baum turned one hundred last week and was honored with a surprise party at her local McDonald's restaurant. Their present to her: free food for life. "I don't know what I did to deserve all this," she said. "I count my blessings every day."
Nadine is on to something.
Every morning brings new reasons to be discouraged by today's culture. Since our society decided decades ago that truth is subjective and morality is no one's business but ours, we've seen Western culture continue to spiral downward.
Abortion is now celebrated; children and the mentally ill are being euthanized; racial conflict is rising; sexually-transmitted diseases continue to spread. Churches and Christian schools that defend biblical marriage are worried about their tax-exempt status; transgender bathrooms are just the latest battle in the sexual revolution.
It's tempting to withdraw from our broken culture into a siege mentality that assumes the worst. What do we do when facing enemies who appear stronger and more numerous than we are?
David knew the feeling. King Saul was not only the sovereign ruler of the Jewish nation, he was also "taller than any of the people" (1 Samuel 9:2) and commander of the entire army. When he sought to murder David, the young shepherd's life was in mortal peril.
But Saul was actually in more danger than David. When the king rebelled against the will of God, he forsook the protection of God. He eventually killed himself rather than be captured by his enemies (1 Samuel 31:4) and David ascended to his throne.
In 2 Samuel 22 we find David celebrating his victory over Saul and his other enemies: "The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence" (vv. 2–3). Note the personal nature of his testimony: "I," "me," and "my" are used a total of twelve times in forty words.
What was the consequence of such passionate, intimate trust in God? "You exalted me above those who rose against me; you delivered me from men of violence" (v. 49). As a result, he testifies, "I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations, and sing praises to your name" (v. 50).
A refuge is helpful only if we trust it personally. It's not enough to study it, to preach or hear sermons about it, or to talk to other people about it. We must step inside its walls before its protection is ours.
Here's the point: Before you seek God's help, first seek his heart. Draw close to him in prayer and worship. Then ask him what he wants you to do to make a difference in our culture and obey his call. You'll have all the protection and power you need to accomplish your Kingdom assignment today.
Don't worry about what you cannot change—focus on what you can. C. S. Lewis notes, "The dentist who can stop one toothache has deserved better of humanity than all the men who think they have some scheme for producing a perfectly healthy race."
To change your culture, count your blessings and be a blessing. It's really that simple.
Publication date: October 21, 2016
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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