Friday, April 27, 2007

A Culture of Light

When I was a little girl, I never read many books. I never really enjoyed reading. When I went to college, I had to take a reading lab because I struggled with reading comprehension. Looking back, I recall reading words without strain and even doing extremely well in spelling. However, I had a weakness in understanding the ideas of what I was reading.

It is amazing that now at 42 years old, one of my favorite things to do is read. I enjoy fiction, however, I spend most of my free time reading non-fiction. I look at it as a wise choice I have to make with my limited time. As you probably realize, I enjoy sharing about what I have read especially things that have deeply impacted me.

Now I am such a book nut that I am usually rotating through four to six books at once. Several weeks ago, I started reading Purifying the Prophetic ,by R. Loren Sandford. This is such a rich piece which every American Christian or non-Christian should read. It is not just about prophecy, but it boldly confronts the culture of selfishness that we live in today. It is alive and well in this country and has become a forceful enemy of our time.

The culture of self teaches that the comfortable, wealthy life and that the "must haves" should be our goal and pursuit of our happiness. It implies that we must focus on ourselves and our personal feelings to reach our inward goals. This in itself leads to a culture of complaint, grumbling, pride, and ungratefulness. These are all fruits of our obsession with self.

In Sanford's book, the author states, "We weigh and measure one another and find one another wanting because we are steeped in the demand that others serve our personal need to be pleased and happy. Having thus passed judgement, we then declare ourselves innocent or, at worst, victims.We have been marinated in a cultural soup of complaint and grumbling in which nothing is ever enough for us."

Now Jesus' passion is to create a culture of light amongst us. This is a new culture which cradles sacrifice and giving. In order for this culture to dominate this world of self focus, there would have to be a number of us who would resign this world's culture which screams, "I am owed something!"

Sanford says, "We must become practitioners of the new culture, permeated by the giving spirit of Jesus and soaked in His extreme mercy."

My question within my own heart and to my self has been, "Am I desperate enough? Am I hungry enough?" The places God is attracted to are the places where the pains of hunger growl within the desperate bellies of His people. We cry out for God to show Himself to us. We ask Him to open the eyes of our hearts that we may see Him. Is our cry out of our craving for Him alone or a craving for something supernatural that will only bring temporary sustenance?

In order to cultivate a culture of light, we must first know what it looks like. Where God is glorified is where there is culture of light. We glorify Him by walking in praise toward Him. Speaking constant praise is a sure cure for complaining and criticism. Replacing every negative thought with a positive word is the practice we should also prioritize.

Another action we can take is to study the works of God. Implementing this opens our eyes to the whole of what God is up to and helps to eliminate the mindset and habits of focusing on what we lack. People who are aiming to present a culture of light, edification is always a byproduct. We know how to edify ourselves and to encourage others with nurturing word and actions.

The heart and desire of our Lord is to build a true Christian culture, not a religious one, where servant hood, encouragement, humility,praise, and contemplation of the works of God are manifested. May we all realize the depths of our hunger and run to the throne of the Lord and allow Him to fulfill us that we may in this age be vessels where the culture of light prevails.

posted by Ange

1 comment:

Betsy Thraves said...

You mentioned contemplation--boy, is THAT a lost art among believers. We never slow down long enough to ponder what God is doing and saying around us and in us. No wonder there is such a lack of original and creative thought in our culture, and especially in the church. We never really THINK about anything long enough for new thoughts to spring out of it.

I know what you meant about the reading comprehension, too. I was the same way, a great speller and reader, but couldn't always get the main point out of it. I got over it around age 35. Go figure.

Good blog, Ange.