Bible Conference was just over a week ago, and many of us are still left pondering the truths shared with the student body. Sanctification, the conference theme, is a challenging process in a world that so easily mixes the truth of the Gospel and the perversion of the sinful heart. We can look to Scripture like John 15:19, John 17:14-17 and Romans 12:2 that teach us principles reminding us that this world is not our home––but how does that knowledge play out practically? What does it actually mean to be “in the world and not of it”?
A good place to start is to identify the influences the world currently has on us individually. We live in a generation saturated with all kinds of media, and it’s likely most of us have tried periodically taking a break from various sources of media. But what is it exactly that we are trying to distance ourselves from?
Let’s take a look at one aspect of the media that we almost inadvertently allow to guide our worldview. When we consume media that puts a rosy filter over ungodly lifestyles, we may become desensitized to completely unrealistic worldviews. A speaker told us during Bible Conference to be wary of the lies that movies set us up for regarding outcomes of living in sin. In scripts, stories of pain and pleasure can be manipulated to completely forget God without consequence. Even if secular movies, shows, songs and influencer content online do accurately portray the guilt or pain from wrong choices, the long-term resolutions are either nonexistent or void of God’s design for healing.
As students who have grown up in the midst of this kind of carefully crafted media, it can be really hard to even recognize the impact these custom-made stories have had on our perception of reality. It becomes tempting to justify compromising decisions, because we see their apparent rewards in both the professional media we see and the best-foot-forward content social media influencers create.
Removed from the filter of storytelling for entertainment’s sake, lives without God are not so isolated from His sovereignty. Living unrepentantly in sin has both external and internal real-world consequences. There’s nothing fulfilling about youth rebelling against authority. There’s nothing worthy of a Christ-follower in sexualizing your appearance or behavior. There’s no glory in revenge.
Instead of the synthetic version of life the world would like us to accept, let’s balance our perspective by seeking real stories of God-guided struggle and triumph. Beyond the inexhaustible Bible accounts of men and women who both failed and found victory, we have the testimonies of Christians around us. Are you able to share a testimony of the Lord’s grace and power in your life? What mistakes have you made that others can learn from? By being open, humble and God-focused as a body of believers, we can trade the influence of media-born characters for the declaration of God’s constant, devoted relationship with each of His adopted children.