What We Need To Do In A Culture Gone Wild
So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for
“‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said,
“‘For we are indeed his offspring.’
Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” — Acts 17:22-31
What Paul does here is quite cunning. He doesn’t get drawn into a debate with the Athenians about their gods, even though he is irritated with their activities. Instead, he turns to a single observation — that they want to understand the unknown. And in doing so, he avoids the peripheral issues, behaviors, and practices of their idol worship. He focuses his speech on what makes his God, the God of all gods, so appealing.
I think we could all take a lesson from Paul today, especially in a culture that’s so frustrating. Because you need to know that in this crazy time we live, I have had many moments I have been frustrated. And in my frustration, I get sucked into emotional debates that focus on arguing about something that usually does not matter. Thus I find myself caught up in these divisive arguments that do not address real issues nor real needs. And when this happens, I tend to focus only on “my frustrations” and “my solutions,” and therefore, I miss seeing the real issue and God’s solution that is much better than my solution in the first place.
So today, if you are frustrated as you look around at a culture gone wild, remember you were not the first to experience this. I believe Paul went through a similar experience as he walked into Athens. And he, like you and I, need to remember — God is still God of this crazy world. And we need to keep pointing people to God. He is still the solution. We are not!
ASK THIS: What is driving you crazy about our world right now? (Confess it below if you dare).
DO THIS: Focus on God, the real needs of people, and God’s solutions.
PRAY THIS: God, as I watch this world get crazier by the minute. Help me to stay focused on you and point people always an only to you. Amen.
PLAY THIS: Jesus, You Are — Life Church.
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