Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Picket Fencing

Due to the fact that we live in the country, getting a strong radio station signal isn't always possible with certain stations. The Christian station I listen to while I'm out running errands comes in really well in town, and begins to fade about 3/4 of the way home. Oddly enough it comes in quite clear in my driveway, but not while I'm driving that 1/4 of the way down the highway.

A few days ago I got in the van to run errands, and I turned the Christian station on. It was time for John MacArthur, and I strategically plan my errands to be in the van while his 30 minutes are on. What began to happen was typical; the station I was listening to started to fade while another station sort of faded in, and the two stations were sort of mixing in and out. The interesting thing was, the second station that was trying to come in also had a Christian speaker but he was talking about a completely different subject.

As I made my way down the 1/4 area of highway where the station signal is weak, and the two stations were vying for the spot, I immediately noticed the extreme difference in tone, in the two speakers. When MacArthur would come back in strong, his voice was compassionate, measured, reasonable and calm. When the other station would come in strong and drown out the first station, the Christian speaker on that program was excitable, edgy, had a raised tone to his voice, and seemed almost over-eager to get his point across. I really didn't like the presentation style of the second speaker and just turned it down until I was at the spot where the first station comes in clear.

What this made me think of was the extreme mixed messages that are out there for us to form our worldview on. While in the case of the two Christian speakers, the difference was merely annoying (the second speaker clearly had far too much coffee before taping) it goes well beyond the annoying stage when it comes to other matters.

I immediately began to think of topics that come up in my personal situation that we all take one side or the other on. Topics such as creation v. evolution, homeschooling v. public schooling, and the biggest one of all and the only one that really matters at the end of the day: Biblical morality v. worldly values.

On that same radio station a few days earlier was a program on with two men discussing this very thing. How man cannot serve two masters, and if he does he is riding the fence. The topic turned to young people (teenagers) and how they're living in a time with pressures and temptations that the generation prior to them didn't face. Sometimes I believe that's true, other times I question if it's just an excuse, but either way, I certainly wouldn't want to be a Christian teenager in today's world. There are pressures in place in a teenager's world that just don't exist in the adult world, and I can't imagine what it would be like for a genuine Christian teenager to go against the tide and take a stand for Christ, and His word. It's certainly not "popular" for an adult to do that, but it's even more unpopular for a teenager.

The two men on the radio were talking about discussions they'd had in their respective church's youth groups, and how the adults in church will automatically assume these kids are Christians simply because they say they are, and attend youth group every week. One man relayed a conversation he had with a teenage girl after a youth group meeting and how she'd told him things about what goes on (in her own life and in the lives of some of the kids there) that truly shocked him. The bottom line was, these were kids (for the most part) that were in fact riding the fence. They professed Him with their lips, but their hearts were far from Him.

While I was listening to this, I drove along nodding my head. I know teenagers like that now, and I knew them when I was one, and attending a Christian youth group. The old cliche comes to mind "just because you sit in the garage, that doesn't make you a car". Just because these kids profess Christ, doesn't mean they actually live to serve Him. Often, they "fake" their Christianity because they know that "being a Christian" is what the parents and adults in the church expect from them. Some will even say things like "it's too hard to live like that", or "I can't be perfect" (knowing full well God doesn't expect perfection, but that's a handy excuse to continue living in the world and engaging in worldly things). Eventually though, the real fruit of their lives becomes evident. I can say this with some amount of authority, because I was one of those kids, and so were many others in my own youth group. Ironically, us fakers all knew who the real Christian kids were, and who among us was faking just like we were.

There are pressures in society that young people face now, that just weren't there when I was a teenager. The monumental campaign in place to force homosexual lifestyles as "acceptable", alternative lifestyles simply did not exist when I was a teenager. In my day, everyone just KNEW it was a lifestyle that was unacceptable to God, and to His natural order of things. While this is just one example, it's an example of the way society has changed in just a very short time.

Taking a bold stand for Christ and for the truth of God's word is not always an easy thing no matter what age bracket you fall into. However, doing that very thing if you also profess Him with your lips, is the very thing He expects you to do, no matter what your friends are saying, no matter the pressures in the workplace, no matter how unpopular it is in mainstream society.

As the Scripture says, man cannot serve two masters.

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