Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Danger of Disguise

     Guest blogger:  Mason Beebe, age 16 yrs.

     Recently, I read an article online about a certain social media application. The author was warning readers about the dangers of the application and his ultimate goal was to have the reader delete the app from their phone or electronic device. His argument against the application was that, when advertised, the application seemed safe, but under careful study the application is very dangerous. This bad application was being disguised with good advertisements.
     As you probably know, living in Ghana has greatly changed our view on American/Western culture and values, and most are not for the better. After living here in Ghana for some time, I realized that it is nearly impossible to truly see certain pieces of Western values for what they are until you are no longer immersed in the culture. There is so much wickedness in the country that people don’t see because it is disguised as something good.

     One of the pieces that has made me so upset is the complacency of the church. We have not taken our faith seriously. We don’t live like the prayers we pray or the songs we sing. We are not reaching the world as God called us to and what is even more saddening is that we are giving ground to horrible sins in our own country. A big part of this is the fact that we have not been looking past the disguises of sin.
     One example I can think of is the television show Duck Dynasty. It is being devoured by the Christian community because the people in the show claim to be Christians.  I realize it is a television show, but do you see the people in this TV show living out their faith? Do you think they are living in the way Jesus would have them live? I watched one episode where one of the characters paid $100 instead of apologizing to his wife. What is that saying about us as followers of Jesus Christ? Almost all of the characters spend money on a whim, buying things of worldly value. What does this say about what we value as believers?
     I know that one argument in favor of Duck Dynasty is that they pray at the end of every episode. Here in Ghana, there is a castle where slaves were kept before being shipped to countries participating in the slave trade. There is a room about 25’ by 15’ where as many as 300+ slaves were held in utter darkness in their own excrement for months. Right above this dungeon was a church where the foreign occupants of the castle would go to worship. So, since they went to church and worshipped God, did that make what they were doing to the slaves okay? Since they pray at the end of every Duck Dynasty episode, does that make what they do in the rest of episode okay? Where is the line of compromise?  Another thing to consider is will some Christians use this show as an excuse to be prodigal with the resources God has blessed them with?
     Another example of disguised sin in our culture is “Christian radio.” While we were back on furlough I was grieved and even angry by the worldliness of what was being played on the radio. The only “Christian” part of “Christian radio” seemed to be the music. What is talked about by the DJ’s is meant to entertain and nothing more. Every year one radio station does a cruise to help raise funds for the station. Do you think that this cruise shows that we, as followers of Jesus, are willing to give sacrificially? American Christians don’t seem to take what Jesus says and calls us to seriously.
     Not all sins in our culture are disguised. There is much wickedness in America that is held up for the world to see. But this evil is becoming accepted in the one beacon of hope for America, the church. American Christians are not simply buying into small disguises, but are being seduced to believe that extreme iniquity really isn't that bad. If 78.4% of America professes to be Christian, then how is this happening to our nation (U.S. Religious Landscape Survey)? We are warriors who have surrendered to the will of our enemy.
     I did not write this blog post so that you would stop watching Duck Dynasty or stop listening to “Christian radio.” I wrote this so that you would begin to examine things in America that are currently accepted as “okay” and decide for yourself if these things are truly good.  Slavery may have ended decades earlier if people had asked this question while they were worshipping above the heads of 300 captive people!  

     I wrote this post because I want to see the church in America rise up and do the Lord’s will. I want Christians not to be set apart just because they listen to Christian music, but because they do hard things and live out what the Bible asks of us.
     There is so much God calls us to in the Bible it can be extremely overwhelming. I have found that I cannot do everything the Lord asks of His people in His holy book. But God is rich in grace for my incompetence. He has shown me that if my heart truly desires to do the Lord’s will, and I put all of my effort into doing that, then He is pleased with what I do. I am not asking you to do anything other than seek the Lord. Study His word and His commands not so that you can get to heaven, but because God is so good and you want to please this holy and good God.
     God has given us so much. And even though we have turned our backs on Him numerous times, He still loves us, and He still is asking us to be a part of furthering His kingdom. Are you going to accept this incredible opportunity that God offers you, or are you going to continue living in comfort embracing any worldly pleasure life brings upon you? We don’t have long to take advantage of this opportunity that God offers us. Psalm 144:4 says, “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.”


     So are we going to continue buying these disguises that the American culture is creating for sin, or are we going to choose to look past these masks and see the sin that lies there? Then, are we going to just live with the knowledge of this sin, or are we going to fight it? Are we going to pray passionately for God to move? Are we going to fervently ask for God’s spirit to help us, and for His grace when we mess up? Are we going to live like Jesus meant what He was saying in the Bible, or are we going to read passages with tranquil pleasure thinking that the biblical mandates don’t apply to us? What are you going to do?

Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.
Psalm 144:4

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