How much do you love Jesus? According to many of the posts by youth in the social media I follow it would seem there are a lot of us. But there is something that disturbs me about these various blogs and about my own life. We say we love Jesus, a heart response to his love for us, but then we champion things in this world that fly in the face of our Lord and Saviour. I am beginning to ask myself how I can follow Jesus and participate in the culture of my times.
It is hard for me. I consider myself an artist. I am creative with a creative mind and heart. I am not satisfied to be a consumer. I want to produce and I want to produce all the time. My chosen canvas is a blank page and my instrument is words but because I am what God created me to be, I am creative with whatever I do. I write poetry, short stories, plays, musicals, blogs, but I also create with photography, food, drawings (not great at that), design. I also create with business, but I make a lousy manager. Just ask any of my friends and family and they will tell you that I am never satisfied with how things are; I am always trying to make it more. But if I am not aware of the weaknesses of such a heart and mind, I can easily be destroyed by the enemy.
I am attracted to anything that is creative, offbeat, having a different perspective. I get overwhelmed by dance, am moved by music, absorbed by photography. I am drawn to things that force me to look at the ordinary in a different way. I think a lot of people are. I think that the adolescent heart, constantly looking for definition and exploration, is very vulnerable to such things. The problem is that our culture has been infected by sin because it is crafted by our sin nature. At one time the Church was a huge influence in culture and creativity but now the depravity of man has become the greater influence. It has become impossible to participate in the culture of our time and follow Jesus.
Now I know you are reading this thinking you are an exception. You aren't. I sincerely love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul and all my strength. My passion for Jesus is immense. My jealousy for my Father's righteousness is overwhelming. Yet, I am easily swayed and influenced by the creativity of even the depraved mind. I do not lack discipline. I do not lack knowledge. I do not lack an off button. But just as Eve looked and saw it was good and then took, if I allow myself to look I will be attracted and I will participate. If you are willing to be honest, you too will admit that things linger in you after listening to certain songs, watch certain movies, look at certain pictures, read certain books.
Art is powerful and so is the culture of the creative. It has an influence on us. It sticks with us. It changes us. And now that this culture is being further crafted by the depravity of man, there is far greater danger in it. There is no greater tool for shaping the heart and changing the mind of our society than the 30 minute sitcom. All for the sake of laughter and entertainment we allow our perspective to be shifted. It won't happen after the first, second, or third episode but like a slow dripping faucet it will change you. It wasn't too long ago that suggesting a man and woman have sex outside of marriage would never have been found on television, but now we are "liberated" from such restraints and we actually see boyfriends and girlfriends in bed together. Then we wonder why our youth move in with their boyfriends and girlfriends. The depravity today goes far beyond sex outside of marriage, and we watch it and are entertained.
It is true that he who is in us is far greater than he who is in the world but it doesn't mean that we should continue to put ourselves under the influence of he who is in the world. It means that we have nothing to fear in this world but we still need to receive our sustenance from the Vine, who is Jesus. My creativity must be defined, shaped, molded by the righteousness of my Father. Such creativity is limitless in Christ which is far different than the seemingly unlimited depravity of this world.
If you are young and you have actually read this far it means that you are seeking answers in your own quest to express your creative nature. You have choices to make, as do I. I do not see it is possible to be influenced by both the Spirit and the world. I do not see it is possible to serve two masters. You know that Jesus said we can't. I do not see that we have any choice but to turn our backs on the creativity of the depraved and seek the righteousness of our Father. He is the one who gave us this character; he is the one who will feed it to grow and flourish for his glory. It is time to turn away from the fruit we must not eat and find our joy in our King. It is time to make a choice over entertainment.