27 Jan Secret #2: Determine to Influence Your Culture
January 27, 2020
We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Billy Graham was on the cutting edge of the culture for more than fifty years. He not only preached the gospel in crusades across the world where millions came to know Christ as Savior, but Billy Graham never shrank away from addressing the culture’s spiritual and moral decay. In his book “World Aflame,” Billy Graham hit upon a persistent problem confronting our culture. He wrote, “In a declining culture, one of its characteristics is that ordinary people are unaware of what is happening. . . . Modern man has become a spectator of world events, observing on his television screen without becoming involved. He watches the ominous events while he sips his beer in a comfortable chair. He does not understand that his world is on fire and that he is about to be burned with it.”
That ordinary man was me early in my ministry. I would come home from work, sit in my chair, turn on the news, and cluck my tongue over the sad situation we were living in. I believed that as long as I preached the gospel every Sunday that neither me nor my church had to worry about being engulfed in the flames of the culture. I soon discovered how wrong I was about that.
My awakening occurred one Thursday in 1998. I was pastoring the First Baptist Church in Wichita Falls, and a church member showed me two children’s books from the local library: “Daddy’s Roommate” and “Heather Has Two Mommies.” In “Daddy’s Roommate,” a little boy explained that his father left his mother to be with his friend Frank. At one point it said, “Daddy and Frank . . . sleep together.” It was accompanied by an illustration of two men in bed.
I was shocked. But what could I do? I had to prepare my message for Sunday. I was preaching on Genesis 19, about God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. One of my application points was: “We cannot afford to condone what God has condemned.” I didn’t want to cause a ruckus, so I called the librarian and politely asked her to remove the books from the children’s area. She let me know in no uncertain terms that she would not do that. The following Sunday, I preached that we cannot condone what God has condemned. Then I held up those books, explained my objection to them, and informed my congregation that I was not going to return the books to the library. That set off a firestorm–not just in our community but across the nation.
I wanted to live “at peace with all men,” as Romans 12:18 says, but I discovered that you cannot live at peace with a culture that is at odds with God. Men and women who want to experience a significant life must be willing to confront their culture with God’s truth.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Secret #1: Discover Your Unique Purpose” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2017.
Billy Graham, “World Aflame” (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1965), 16-17; Michael Willhoite, “Daddy’s Roommate” (New York: Alyson, 1994), 6.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.