Let’s look at a couple of words. The first word is fickle. Dictionary.com defines fickle as “likely to change, especially due to caprice, irresolution, or instability; casually changeable; not constant or loyal in affections (a fickle lover, for example).” Being fickle is based on emotions, not on facts. I think we all know a few people who fit into that category, and many times (probably more times then we care to admit) we fall into it, too.
Okay, let’s look at another word that has been around since the 1970’s–postmodernism. Wikipedia defines postmodernism as “a philosophical movement evolved in reaction to modernism–the tendency in contemporary culture to accept only objective truth.” Therefore, “Postmodernism is largely a reaction to the assumed certainty of scientific, or objective, efforts to explain reality” (www.pbs.org). In postmodernism, everything is subject to change and, as I like to say, “up for grabs.” Truth or reality “is constructed as the mind tries to understand its own particular and personal reality” (www.pbs.org). In other words, “truth” or “reality” depends on how one “feels” and is based on emotions, not facts. It’s fickle and depends entirely on a person’s whims to define their own personal truth or reality. Their motto is “Your perception is your reality” (and if you believe that you might want to read my previous post on Regaining Our Balance which deals with the topic of spiritual warfare). Our adversary has a field day with that line of thought.
The Church in America over the past few decades has acclimated to this way of thinking by ignoring portions of Scripture that they find “unpleasant” (subjects like “sin” and “repentance” and “discipline” and living for Christ instead of for ourselves) and focusing only on those verses that they find uplifting (subjects mostly centered around “God is love”–which He is– but He’s also a God of justice and He hates sin and evil). Building your “house” (e.g. your life) on postmodern influences that have invaded the Church is like building your house on quicksand–it’s forever changing and based on your emotions, not on Biblical truth, and you’ll eventually end up losing your “house” and much, much more.
In the broader culture, much of our world has swallowed “postmodern thought” hook, line, and sinker. It’s a “feel good” philosophy that is rotten at it’s very core. And it doesn’t require any intelligent thought whatsoever to be “postmodern.” But it’s cool, right? Anything goes and you can think and do what you want (even if you end up using other people to get it). Indeed, postmodernism is all about your “whims” dictating your life. But how’s that working for you?
Here’s a little lesson in Reality 101 for you: We reap what we sow (Gal. 6:7-8): “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Doesn’t exactly go along with postmodern thought, now does it?
I am not implying that everyone in America who called themselves “Christian” has fallen under the “spell” of postmodernism, but it has vastly influenced how we feel about “sin” and “repentance” and has blinded a lot of us to our true calling in Christ. If you believe the Bible, you know that this life is not “about us.” The classic Psalm that most people can quote, Psalm 23, starts with these words: “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.” If He is, indeed, our Shepherd, then we are His sheep. And sheep don’t tell the Shepherd what to do. And, if the Lord is our Shepherd, we shall not “want”–and most of us “want” all the time. No, He’s the Shepherd and we are to follow His lead, not our own by asking Him to bless what we want. No, the verse clearly states, “I (meaning us, folks) shall not want.” If we truly belong to Him, it’s not about our “wants.” He never promised to meet our “wants,” but He has promised to meet our needs. As Phil 4:19 states: “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Needs are vastly different from wants.
One more item I want to mention is the difference between “sowing and reaping” and “trials.” The best way I know how to do that is by my own example. In a previous post, “Zero Tolerance,” I mentioned a relationship that I had in my life for 14 years that I thought (or rather I had convinced myself) that God had placed in my life for a specific purpose. What in fact happened is that this particular friendship became an idol to me and I was so emotionally involved that I was blinded about the reality of that friendship until God set in motion some very unpleasant circumstances which lead to this very long time of unemployment (the details are not important; however, the recognition that it was definitely a case of “reaping what I had sown” was clearly obvious to me). And even though the principle of “sowing and reaping” played the opening act in this very long saga of unemployment, I ended the friendship (nine days before I was fired), thoroughly repented of my sin before God, and placed Him back where He belonged which is in first place in my life.
Even though the unemployment continues to this day, it turned from “reaping what I had sown” through repentance to a very long “trial” where I have learned some extraordinarily valuable lessons about the reality of life from God’s perspective. Trials are a part of every Christian’s life, and all through this trial the chief request I have asked of God is to give me His wisdom for living this life from His perspective and to keep me from falling back on my own faulty wisdom. James 1:2-17 are the hallmark verses in the Bible on how to face trials and here are a few of those verses (2-8, NIV 1984): “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”
I’ve been reading an excellent book that centers on how postmodernism (e.g. “feelings versus facts”) has influenced our society at all levels and what it has done to our society with regard to our relationships, family, media, government, in the classrooms all over America, and in the Church at large. It’s titled “When The Crosses Are Gone: Restoring Sanity in a World Gone Mad” and is the latest book by Dr. Michael Youssef at LeadingtheWay.org. It opens with this quote from Will Durant: “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.” It clearly shows how our “feelings versus facts” mentality (thanks to postmodernism) is destroying not only us as individuals but our culture and our whole way of life in America. This book “is a clarion call for America to avoid this slippery slope to destruction” (quote from back cover) and “it offers insight into the issues we are facing in our culture today and solutions on how Christians can change the culture by the power of God and His Holy Spirit” (quote on website). It’s an excellent resource for waking us from the postmodern malaise we’ve been sleeping under.
And, if you’re confused about anything in our postmodern culture, turn to James 1 and ask God for wisdom and He will give it to you generously without finding fault. I like that, and I hope you do, too.
Photo credit here