One day this week, while I was reading my daily devotions and going through my weekly Bible study chapter, I was struck by just how caught up I am in things of this world.
I watch network television without considering the overly sexual content and horrible language. I occasionally listen to the news or check it out online, and I’m not horrified at the terrible atrocities that are happening all around me. I read the gossip columns on the Internet, reveling in every juicy and sordid detail happening in the lives of Hollywood’s elite. I listen to secular radio, absent-mindedly singing along to the song lyrics. And usually I don’t give any of these actions a second thought…until recently!
The devotional scripture verse was Romans 12:2:
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
This is a verse I’ve read many times before, but it really struck a familiar chord with me this week. According to it, I should be disgusted on a daily basis at the way this world is going. The Bible tells me to not copy the behavior and customs of this world – the language, the sarcasm, the hatefulness, the voyeurism, the anger, the apathy. I’m to be transformed into a new and Christ like creation – one who displays these traits: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.
In Psalm 101 David is writing about things that are happening around him that he is determined to stay away from. And I see it as a good model for me to follow as well since David is know as the “man after God’s own heart,” which is what I want to be. Here’s what he says:
– refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar (raunchy and risque television and movies, harlequin romance novels, pornography)
– hate all crooked dealings and have nothing to do with them (scams, cheating, lying, stealing, deception of all kinds)
– reject perverse ideas and stay away from every evil (dirty or questionable jokes, sexual innuendo, voyeurism, flirting with someone other than our spouse, breaking the 10 Commandments)
– do not tolerate people who slander their neighbors (gossiping about others behind their backs, willfully telling lies about others to hurt their reputation or tarnish their character, stirring up unnecessary trouble for others)
– do not endure conceit or pride (thinking of oneself before others, thinking you’re “God’s gift” to this Earth, placing your wants/needs/feelings above others’, trying to elevate yourself to an unearned position of authority over others).
David points out a quite specific list of actions and thoughts that he is determined not to get involved in. I wonder if David were living in today’s times if that list would remain the same, or if it would be larger?
However, for me to achieve my goal of becoming more Christ like I see a few areas where some changes are necessary. I need to turn off the television programs, skip the gossip columns on the Internet, stop checking out the tabloids as I stand in the grocery store line, and walk away from the busy-bodies at the water cooler. I also need to remember to keep my pride in check as well.
If I’m to be transformed into the person that God wants me to be, I need to focus on the things of Heaven and not of Earth. I should be focusing on God’s will for my life – what He wants me to do, and when he wants me to do it, instead of being concerned about what people think of me.
“Dear Lord, please forgive me for being caught up in the snares and temptations of this world. Help me to keep my focus on you and your will for my life. Help me to become more aware of the evil around me, and to be able to quickly turn away from it when it presents itself to me. Thank you for Jesus who died on my cross. In His precious name I pray, amen.”