In order to engage our culture in a strategic way, we must invest our influence with intentionality.
In thinking through this concept we may at times walk a tight rope. So let’s look at biblical instruction on this issue.
First, notice the progression in thought
1 Corinthians 6:12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. (ESV)
1 Corinthians 10:23 23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. (ESV)
As we seek to be influencers and as we seek to help our children be influences we must understand that some activities (good or evil) may be enslaving–may take control. But we should only have one Master.
Other activities are not evil but they are not what is best for us.
Second, notice the context into which we are to be influencers
Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (ESV)
Romans 16:19b but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. (ESV)
Titus 1:15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. (ESV)
1 Corinthians 14:20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. (ESV)
These passages make it clear that there are things in the world or culture around us that we must understand and need to be able to deal with wisely, yet in purity.
So how do we not only engage but influence our culture? A few key ideas:
Key #1: The Power of Integrity
An authentic life of integrity speaks volumes even to the most antagonistic.
Key #2: The Power of the Word and the Spirit
The ability to influence our world doesn’t come primarily from us, but from God by way of the Spirit through the Word. We must know the Word and live the Word.
Key #3: Building community–the Power of Love
Our culture is one of isolation, so we as believers need to understand that love is a powerful influencer. We should not simply see people as target of the gospel message, but as people loved by God, created for His glory.
Key #4: Focus on the Essentials–the Power of Priority
Focusing on minutia makes Christianity look weak and useless. We need to understand what the fundamental truths are, and while we can believe many more things, and we should seek to continually grow in our understanding of God and His Word–we shouldn’t expect the world to believe as we do. Let’s not fight the world for all our beliefs, but let keep investing our influence in the most strategic ways possible.
People want to know if a relationship with God really works, will it help them, will it give meaning to life, will it place them into community. We can provide those answer, we can influence those around us, but it requires intentional investment.