Many of us have long been aware of the many seductions our culture offers which leads to the great seduction or who we’ll ultimately follow. But it bears repeating. Every Christian will face and have to deal with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life in America and elsewhere. That goes without saying. The author does point out that our particular culture is very rich with these temptations, so much so it is the American way of life. Most of us can’t see past or through it. I am not sure we know how affected we are.
This poses a very real problem and garners very real consequences. Mostly that is this, that it is perfectly acceptable in our culture to go without living the Christian life all together and that is the great seduction. It is also very easy to live what appears to be the Christian life here also. On closer examination it is one principled by lust, pride, and personal glory. That also is one of our enemies in hiding.
Temptation and persecution go hand in hand. One prods the sinner toward the other and for a new christian or young christian this is a very real trial of faith. But I think it can in no way compare to the persecution Christians suffer elsewhere. We need to keep that in perspective. We can live out the christian life here with little persecution to the degree the author is speaking of. We can merely say, “I am a christian” and go unnoticed.
That to say that is the whole of it. We certainly have our greater persecutions which has cost some very much, their financial livelihood, their lives. Welcome to socialism 101.
But to a new christian unfamiliar with the various Christian subcultures here it might seem they are alone in big world they no longer identify with, have affection for, which they still have to live among, and that can seem overwhelming and lonely. Both of of which prod us toward unfaithfulness. To a teen, parting ways with our culture, all it’s enticements, all that presents itself as gain, it can seem like the end of the world and a great loss. But, that’s a small trial in the grand scheme of things.
Something to remember, if you’re a new christian starring wide eyed at the world you were once blissfully apart of is that Christianity is all around you here in comparison. You’ve just not been attuned to it. One of your great tasks at this point is to find it and know it from it’s counterfeits. Take your bible, take your concordance, and establish a sound view of thought, reality, of the world. You’ll be surprised what you find and what the Lord will provide to meet your needs.
In truth, the reward of saying ‘no’ is infinite gain. This is the beginning of life much richer, wiser, and blessed. As far as finding ‘self’ or determining ‘self’ goes, we’re so narrowly focused on ‘self’ because of the very culture we live in. It has diverted our attention from that which should be our main focus, knowing who God is and how we fit into the framework of His world.
“Who am I?” is a great question and one you’ll find many answers to as you acquaint yourself with your Creator. Let Him show you who He is. Let His Words define things for you as well as who you are and what you should be. And be forewarned. You’ll find the many ways the world has seduced and diverted your affection and attention. Continue to repent and seek to think like He thinks, love what He loves, and lives as He’s called you to live. Take this article just as an eye opener or a reminder of the particular temptations our culture offers. But look to your Deliverer, Who is faithful, who has made you His workmanship, Who has sent you a Helper and left His Word as your guide. He is infinitely greater than the temptations and seductions of this world. If you are in Him and He is in you, you’ll find the grace of God incredibly liberating and fear increasingly minimizing.
Most American youth don’t face these sorts of threats, but that doesn’t mean their faith comes without cost. America doesn’t kill or incarcerate people for being Christian, but it does foster a social and economic environment that makes following Jesus increasingly costly.
I remember a conversation almost a decade ago with a wise and well-traveled man who made his living speaking about Jesus and the Christian faith around the world. We were talking about persecution, pain, and suffering in the Christian experience. I don’t remember his exact words, but he said something like, “Christians in the West might not face persecution like they do in the Middle East or China, but they do face the very real threat of seduction and the suffering that comes from daily resisting.”
As I’ve reflected on these words over the years, I’ve found them true to God’s Word and experience. The youth I’ve worked with don’t fear martyrdom, but in calling them to live under the lordship of Jesus in their daily lives, I realized I am asking them to die daily to self. Saying “no” to that which entices us is incredibly difficult and painful. The loss feels very real. In many ways, this loss is heightened for youth beginning to develop their sense of self.
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