One young lady, Shelia, who was interviewed for Dr. Robert Bellah’s book, Habits of the Heart, said, “I believe in God. I just can’t remember the last time I went to church. But my faith has carried me a long way. It’s ‘sheilaism. ’ Just my own little voice.’”
While that my sound rather bold and arrogant, it really is the sentiment of many people—young and old, in today’s culture. In fact it has become a world view. Values are shifting. Morals are situational. Ethics are personal. The standard is self. The individual has become revered and worshiped.
Tenzin Bhyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, who is the head of state and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, said, “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” No doubt this is the attitude of many in the 21st century.
As we live and work in a world of incredible change, are there some things that are unchanging? Values that are constant? Morals that are unwavering? We want to believe that there is such a standard. We desire a stable set of rules that give us a moral compass and ethical equilibrium. We want to believe in the often quoted passage in Jeremiah 10:23, “Oh, Lord I know that the way of man is not in himself. It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.”
The culture wars of our postmodern age over sex, gender, and marriage are deeper than personal opinion. Or even changing laws. They speak to our world view. Our belief in God. Our understanding of Scripture. Our values. And the moral standards by which we will be guided
But we wonder. Are we too narrow minded? Should we be more open? More understanding? More tolerant?
Have our values just become an excuse for bigotry? Or a justification for self-righteousness?
Here’s what the Bible says.
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” (2 Pet. 1:3-4)
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
Granted these passages won’t mean much to unbelievers. But to Christians professing faith in God’s Word, we need to be assured that in the midst of a confusing and changing culture there is still a standard.
Here’s a few questions you may ask yourself about your values.
(1) Do my values glorify and honor God? (1Pet 2:11-12)
(2) Do my values benefit and bless the lives of others? (Matt 22:39)
(3) Do my values honestly deal with the issue of sin? (1 Jn. 3:4; 5:17)
(4) Do my values provide meaning and purpose to my life? (Eph. 1:3-14)
(5) Do my values transcend this life? (Matt 16:24-26)
Yours. Modern culture’s. Or God’s.
It’s your choice.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman