Christians are exiles. That is, what Christians believe is becoming increasingly strange to the culture around us. We don’t need to fear this because God’s people have been here before. In the Bible, we are called ‘exiles,’ ‘strangers,’ and ‘foreigners,’ dozens of times. There’s plenty in the pages of Scripture to direct our thinking and our steps.
So how do we live as Christian exiles?
DON’T:Withdraw from culture. The evil inside our hearts is every bit as threatening as the evil outside us. Withdrawing from culture doesn’t do us or the gospel any good.
DO:Seek the peace and prosperity of your city. Do your daily work with integrity and excellence and demonstrate compassion and generosity to those in need.
DON’T:Accommodate culture. Yes, we should bend and flex as much as we can to reach people, but eventually a line in the sand will be drawn.
DO: Live holy lives in obedience to God. On Judgement Day, only one opinion of you will count for anything: God’s. Live in such a way that He speaks of you in glowing terms on that day.
DON’T:“Christianize” culture. Converting people to a value system saves no one. Hell will be inhabited by lots of people who held to “Christian” values.
DO:Lead with the gospel. The gospel is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16). It’s what Jesus preached and called people to believe (Mark 1:14-15). He led with the gospel. So do we.
I think it’s a good thing Christians are becoming strange to 21st century American culture. Historically, it hasn’t been Christianity’s “sameness” that has attracted people to it. People have been more attracted to Christianity’s “strangeness.” We can and will engage the culture with Christianity’s strangeness as we: seek the peace and prosperity of our city, live holy lives in obedience to God, and lead with the gospel.
May it be so!