Relevant Righteousness

It is very easy to waste a lot of time keeping up with pop culture. From the latest celebrity gossip, to blockbuster movies, to all the ‘good’ or cutting edge TV shows, to the latest cool gadgets that promise to make life more fun – we as Christians can easily slip into compromise as we attempt to be relevant with unbelievers around us.

Yet there are also lessons to be learned from pop culture and credibility to be earned as we resist the other extreme of self-righteous sheltered-ness. If we can consistently find the balance between being in the world but not of it, we can be the kind of salt and light Christ called us to in Matthew 5:13-16.

Take relationships for instance. With the exception of the ongoing tragedy in Haiti, two of the biggest stories right now are relationship-oriented.  One was the Tiger Woods scandal. The other, even more recent has been the huge dispute between NBC and their late-night talk show hosts.  Concerning the latter, some might write it all off to the nature of TV business. Sure it’s a business, but what an ugly, messy conflict. But for Christians in business, it is a beautiful opportunity. It almost goes without saying that Christian businessmen and businesswomen are called to a higher moral and ethical standard, whether it’s the TV business or the fast-food business. We can truly stand out and glorify God by conducting ourselves in a Christ-like way in the cut-throat world of business.

This relates to the problems Paul was addressing in 1 Corinthians 6. Paul was righteously upset over their lack of Christ-like behavior in the midst of a dispute. Don’t miss the fact he reminds them of their identity in Christ at the end of that section:
“But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (6:11)

The Tiger Woods story provides a similar opportunity for even more of the Church. Not everyone is involved in high-stakes business, but most of us can relate to relating to members of the opposite sex.  Christian marriages can provide a shining example in contrast to the train-wreck that the world’s greatest golfer has made of his marriage. The difference between that and our marriages, our dating relationships ought to be like night and day. Purity rather than affairs, sacrificial love rather than selfish lust, transparancy rather than secrecy, commitment rather than empty promises. Sure non-Christians can have marriages with all of those positive qualities, but there will always be a level they can’t reach without the Spirit of God at work in them.

Let’s be salt and be light. Let’s provide a night and day contrast for those who are having trouble understanding the difference.

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