I have a favorite scripture from the Message translation. The way it reads. The way the words just lay it out there. Straight talk. (That’s my favorite kind.) Read it for yourself.
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life --- your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life --- and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” Romans 12:1-2
First, we should know we can’t do any of it without “God helping you.” I literally don’t think I could make it through it a single day without God helping me. There are multiple times every day I find myself asking Him to be near, give me discernment, protect me, show me His way. So I absolutely understand that without Him I’m lost.
Here's the part of the passage that hits me between the eyes: “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.” Without even thinking.
I know right and wrong. I have a very strong (some might say, stubborn) belief system. I’m not easily swayed. I never give a second thought to things that are obvious. I would never make a deliberate choice to oppose Christ or to go against His principles. On the other hand, there is so much about culture that’s a drift. The language on prime time television that used to qualify for rated ‘R’ at the theater, the idea that absolutes are an anomaly — each person can have her own truth and it’s absolutely unacceptable to suggest there’s only one Truth, or my favorite, the way culture just assumes that sex before marriage is a given and the idea that a young man or woman would dare choose abstinence is ludicrous. I think there are times God just shakes His head. He has to be so disappointed in us.
It’s like we don’t take John 14:6 seriously, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Or what about Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
I’ll back off a little now.
I know I’m coming off strong.
Just consider it my own conviction.
I know God is calling me to be sensitive to the inconspicuous ways the enemy can weasel his way into our lives a little at a time. I want to be on alert. I don’t want to wake up one day and wonder why I’m fitting right into culture without even thinking.