by Ken Cooper
You have probably heard that Christians need to live counter-culture. In other words, Christian values and principles are most often in opposition to the values and principles of the world so when we live by them we live counter to our world’s culture. That’s not surprising when we understand that much of our culture is not based on God’s truth and the world doesn’t much like the idea of absolute truth. That means we have to get used to the idea that we are not going to fit in with the world. That’s why in Romans 12:2 the apostle Paul said, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world.” Jesus calls Satan the “prince of this world” four times in the gospel of John. In Ephesians 2:2 Paul calls him “…the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” Satan’s strong influence in the world results in a dramatic contrast between the culture of this world and the culture of Christ’s church.
It only makes sense that if our values are contrary to the values of this world, which are heavily influenced by Satan, then the world isn’t going to like us very much. In John 15:18 Jesus said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” Let’s face it, Christianity isn’t terribly popular in our culture. Here’s the point. If we live by the values and principles of our world, our lives will not be better, they will become more and more miserable. Satan isn’t interested in our comfort, our well being, or our quality of life. He’s interested only in our destruction. He wants to ruin us, God’s highest creation on earth, so that he can get back at God for his own eventual destruction. Is it any wonder then that James 4:4 says, “… don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
We need to regularly examine every aspect of our lives in the light of the truth of scripture to be sure that we are aligned with God’s principles and values. A very good scripture to remember is found in James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” We live a life that requires discipline. It’s not an easy life either. Living contrary to what the world’s values is difficult and sometimes even leads to persecution. But, in the long run, it is the best life ever.