I’ve held back on blogging about this for a couple of days, because the title is so incredibly negative… but some things are worth being incredibly negative towards. I’m stirred up enough today to just let it out. Pardon me if I preach.
I hate the spirit of this age.
I hate that there are ads on the internet which specifically target my brother because of his age/gender bracket, and invite him to “meet hot local girls.” It’s not right that there is such a proliferation of advertisers seeking to suck him, and others like him, into the addictive, destructive world of lust and pornography.
I hate that there are similar ads which target me, because of my age/gender bracket, offering me a million and one ways to lose weight. Because, after all, if I have an ounce more belly fat than I need, I should be properly horrified of myself and become determined to starve myself into near-oblivion. Or, pardon me, buy their wonder drug which will magically make me thin without forcing me into pesky details like self-control. And although we shake our heads in consternation at the staggering numbers of eating disorders in our young women, we will still throw ads, talk shows, and health news at them from every angle which tell them, “You need to be thinner.”
I hate that young adults are expected to have impure relationships with one another. According to the spirit of the age, it is normal and accepted to experiment around with lots of different people and substances, and it is a potential subject of concern if you decide to never sell yourself out that way. In truth, immorality and drunkenness is not cool. It never will be. But we’ve bought the lie hook, line, and sinker that it’s some sort of rite of passage, and some sort of right — even obligation — that we have as young adults.
I hate that off-color humor and innuendo is making it into the entertainment of increasingly younger kids. It has become acceptable for eight year-old girls to want to look “sexy.” And that rather than pastor the hearts of our young people through the emotionally confusing stages of puberty, we’re supposed to let sin nature run its course and then affirm whatever “alternative lifestyle” these kids choose.
We’re supposedly a pleasure-driven society, but the things we settle for are killing us. We’ll do anything for a cheap thrill, even if we die a little more on the inside each day. We’ll sugar-coat the evil, call it good, and as we are sick and in pain from it, tell all our friends, “You’ve got to try this.”
Even as believers, it’s painfully easy to get caught up in the prevailing spirit of our time. We are bombarded every day with images, slogans, and sound bytes which try to convince us of what we want, of what we should value, and of what’s beautiful. More often than not, we subject ourselves willingly to it, because we think that it’s what is going to help us unwind and relax. And then we wonder why we can’t encounter God.
Generally, when we can’t feel Him, we ask Him why He’s not showing up. But a great deal of our barrenness is because we have so injured our spirits by what we inundate ourselves with, that we have grown numb on the inside. And then, in frustration and boredom, we go right back to the source of our problem as if it will help us. i.e., I’m too stressed out to meditate on the Word right now. I think I’ll get a magazine.
When I have the occasional moment of clarity, I realize how things really are. As C.S. Lewis once famously put it, we are like children who would rather make mud pies in the slum because we cannot imagine what is meant by a holiday at the sea. The truth is that we have given our lives to a beautiful, kind, fascinating God, who is way more enthralling than any other form of entertainment out there, way more wise than the endless prating of philosophers and celebrities, and who actually brings life to our hearts when we talk to Him.
Now remind me, why am I struggling with these choices again?
I’ve been in one of those little seasons of clarity lately. I feel a renewed energy to “take out the precious from the vile” (Jer 15:19), to guard what I agree with in my heart, and to call darkness what it is. This is not a game, nor is it just the way life is. We are in a real war and we do not dare concede any ground to our adversary. The stakes are too high and the time is too short — and above all, our God is too beautiful.