Don't get me wrong. There are many very good, meaningful, happy things in this world. After all, it's the world God created. But the world fell into sin. Eve and Adam bought the lie. They ate the fruit. And now, what should have been good is rotten. What should be meaningful is demoralizing and worthless. What could be happy turns downright depressing.
When I'm sad for our world, I rejoice in our Savior. So many Bible passages explain this, but here's what Paul has to say to the Ephesian people, "Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved." (Ephesians 2:3b-5) I'm so thankful that God didn't (and doesn't) wait for us to get our act together as humans before he acted on our behalf to save us from the filth of our sin. I look at my sin and the sin around me and praise God for the love and forgiveness he shows us through Jesus.
When I'm disgusted by our world, I get motivated to do something. For me, writing this to whoever reads it might be the best I can do for today. But I think it's something.
I've started reading Philippians in my quiet time. This morning this verse stood out to me, "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ." (Philippians 1:27a) Paul was writing to the church in Philippi and was praying for them to stand firm in the faith no matter what the world did to them. He was most likely encouraging them through times of persecution to their faith. This particular verse holds multiple meanings for me today.
1. In my own life, whatever happens today, I need to remember my identity as a daughter of the Most High God, and act accordingly. God loves me. He's bought me with his blood and made me His own. In turn, I want to live like I belong to Him. For me that means I check my attitude, watch my complaining tongue, and put my anxious heart in His hands.
2. I pray for those I know (even if they don't know me) to check themselves. We're coming fresh off of another year of the VMA's on MTV and everyone is talking about Miley's performance. I didn't watch the VMA's. I didn't have to. I know what kind of programming MTV pumps out. Honestly I would have been surprised if something shocking didn't happen at the VMA's. Justin Timberlake was quoted as saying something like, "It's the VMA's, what did you expect?" I was kind of sad to actually agree with him. I was sad to hear other celebrities praising Miley, saying that she nailed it, she owned it, she's 20 years old - she can do what she wants. Unfortunately in our world, sex sells. Hollywood is selling a lie and celebrities and consumers are buying it by the billions. So, as I watch stars like Miley fall from the sky in a spiraling disaster, I try to remember to pray for them. That may be all someone like me can do.
3. I can encourage people in my life to check themselves. Especially the young people I'm privileged to know and work with. Guys, know whose you are. These Hollywood stars seem to have forgotten, or have never heard. You know who you belong to, and if you don't, we need to have a conversation. Don't watch people like Miley and think your body is something to be used purely for other people's enjoyment. Don't ever think you're so worthless that you need that kind of attention from anyone. For whatever reason, Miley's buying the lie that her life and body are hers to do with what she wants. That lie is expensive and can cost you everything. Please don't fall for it. Believe the Truth of the Bible. Know Whose you are and then act like you're His. It won't be easy. You'll get picked on at the least. It's easier and seems like more fun to live as though your life is yours. Your life is God's. He bought you with His life. If you say you're a Christian, don't be afraid or ashamed to act like it. Watch your language. Respect your parents and teachers. Befriend the outcast at school. Evaluate the music you listen to and movies you watch. Connect with your church community so they can encourage you. Being a Christian - a real, true, living-it-out Christian - is tough. It's also worth it - eternally worth it.
"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then... I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you." Philippians 1:27-28