從「符合屬靈原則」來表明立場──TAKING A STANCE FOR ‘SPIRITUAL CONFORMITY’

在這個世代,我們的文化似乎不斷地在改變。就我個人而言,我得到的結論是:我有點跟不上,更無法順應一些發生在我們周圍的諸多文化改變。我曾經認為社會變革是不可避免的。然而,作為耶穌基督的追隨者,我現在明白為什麼我不能容忍其中的許多改變,而開始採取我所謂「符合屬靈原則」之堅定立場。我們的主呼召我們跟隨祂的道路,而不是效法這個世界。

羅馬書12章1-2節勸誡所有的信徒:「所以,弟兄們,我以 神的慈悲勸你們,將身體獻上,當作活祭,是聖潔的,是 神所喜悅的;你們如此事奉乃是理所當然的。不要效法這個世界,只要心意更新而變化,叫你們察驗何為 神的善良、純全、可喜悅的旨意。」

我曾是美國軍隊的一名年輕軍官,當時我被教導服從上級下達的命令和要求,在既定規章制度監督下形成之秩序,而去遵守的行為,對任何群體都會產生正面的結果。企業也必須建立典範實務(Best Practices),以確保員工能遵循守則、尊重公司並為客戶提供適當的服務。

身為狂熱的高爾夫球愛好者,我更意識到,規則對我喜愛的比賽是多麼的重要。任何有組織的運動賽事都有規則,而且有很好的原因,沒有「界線」就會產生混亂,那麼參與比賽者會做出任何自己想做的事。如果沒有足夠和適當的規範,就會導致結果變為競爭的「無政府狀態」。

我相信這就是我們近年來看到所有文化動亂的問題。很多人用自己的生活經歷,與自己眼光認為對的方式,就來制定規則。事實上,這就是舊約士師記告訴我們的,在2 章 10-11 節說道:「那世代的人也都歸了自己的列祖。後來有別的世代興起,不知道耶和華,也不知道耶和華為以色列人所行的事。以色列人行耶和華眼中看為惡的事,去事奉諸巴力。」
 
現在,讓我建議我們從不同的方向來解決這個問題。與其評估如何責備,我更想提供我認為針對這種日益嚴重「屬靈疫情」(Spiritual Pandemic)的解藥。我們這些藉著耶穌基督與天父建立個人關係的群體,是能夠透過住在我們裡面的聖靈,在屬靈的層面中活出上帝生命美好樣式。我們需要呼求主,以祂的靈充滿我們,並賜給我們採取適當行動所需的分辨力,以確保上帝那平安和希望的信息能有效傳達、滲透到我們周圍的人的心中。

在這樣一種尋求榮耀上帝而過「反流行文化生活」的背景下,我想到了使徒保羅在歌羅西書 3章15-17節 中所寫的話:「又要叫基督的平安在你們心裏作主;你們也為此蒙召,歸為一體;且要存感謝的心。當用各樣的智慧,把基督的道理豐豐富富地存在心裏(或譯:當把基督的道理豐豐富富地存在心裏,以各樣的智慧),用詩章、頌詞、靈歌,彼此教導,互相勸戒,心被恩感,歌頌 神。無論做甚麼,或說話或行事,都要奉主耶穌的名,藉著他感謝父神。」

我們需要緊緊抓住自己所知道的真實和正確的東西,在我們的主賜給我們的恩典中有智慧地堅強站立著。然後我們祈禱我們的文化和我們的人民,包括我們每天在職場上遇到的每一個人,都能得到醫治和恢復。

Jim Langley從事人壽健康保險業已經超過30年了。最近幾年,他熱心於將自己與神的關係書寫出來,目的是要鼓勵其他人更加親近神。他也是CBMC的長期會員,在2014年時,他開始寫作「比賽第四節策略」(Fourth Quarter Strategies)。

備註:有關聖經內容的更多相關信息,請參考以下的經文:
詩篇 139篇23-24節
139:23  神啊,求你鑒察我,知道我的心思,試煉我,知道我的意念,
139:24 看在我裏面有甚麼惡行沒有,引導我走永生的道路。
耶利米書 31章23-24節
31:23 萬軍之耶和華─以色列的 神如此說:「我使被擄之人歸回的時候,他們在猶大地和其中的城邑必再這樣說:公義的居所啊,聖山哪,願耶和華賜福給你。
31:24 猶大和屬猶大城邑的人,農夫和放羊的人,要一同住在其中。
羅馬書 8章26-27節
8:26 況且,我們的軟弱有聖靈幫助;我們本不曉得當怎樣禱告,只是聖靈親自用說不出來的歎息替我們禱告。
8:27 鑒察人心的,曉得聖靈的意思,因為聖靈照著 神的旨意替聖徒祈求。
以弗所書 5章11-17節
5:11 那暗昧無益的事,不要與人同行,倒要責備行這事的人;
5:12 因為他們暗中所行的,就是提起來也是可恥的。
5:13 凡事受了責備,就被光顯明出來,因為一切能顯明的就是光。
5:14 所以主說:你這睡著的人當醒過來,從死裏復活!基督就要光照你了。
5:15 你們要謹慎行事,不要像愚昧人,當像智慧人。
5:16 要愛惜光陰,因為現今的世代邪惡。
5:17 不要作糊塗人,要明白主的旨意如何。
歌羅西書 1章27-29節
1:27  神願意叫他們知道,這奧祕在外邦人中有何等豐盛的榮耀,就是基督在你們心裏成了有榮耀的盼望。
1:28 我們傳揚他,是用諸般的智慧,勸戒各人,教導各人,要把各人在基督裏完完全全地引到 神面前。
1:29 我也為此勞苦,照著他在我裏面運用的大能盡心竭力。

反省與問題討論

  1. 你對我們近年來所經歷的文化改變有何看法?(例如:多元婚姻文化、小學性教育、大麻合法化…等)你同意這些改變嗎?即便它們可能與你過去遵循的信念和做法背道而馳?
  2. 為什麼你認為與不斷改變的文化相抗衡,這樣的價值觀不容易站立的住?
  3. 在羅馬書中,我們看到使徒保羅的這句話:「我不以福音為恥;這福音本是 神的大能,要救一切相信的…因為神的義正在這福音上顯明出來;這義是本於信…… 「義人必因信得生」(羅馬書 1:16-17)。你認為我們要如何能將這節經文應用在面對周遭不斷變化的文化中呢?
  4. 當你思考自己對耶穌基督生平的了解時,你認為祂會如何應對生活在當時世界中來自文化變遷的挑戰?這樣的思考能教我們什麼呢?

TAKING A STANCE FOR ‘SPIRITUAL CONFORMITY’

By Jim Langley

Our culture seems to be constantly changing these days. Personally, I have come to the conclusion that I can no longer keep up with, much less conform, to the many cultural shifts that are happening all around us. There was a time when I accepted those social changes as inevitable. However, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I now understand I cannot condone many of these changes and now am taking a stance for what I call “spiritual conformity.” We are called by our Lord to follow His ways, not to conform to the ways of this world.

Romans 12:1-2 admonishes all believers, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

As a young officer in the U.S. military, I was instructed to follow the orders and commands that came down from above. Orderly conduct governed by established rules produces positive results on the part of any group. Businesses must also establish best practices to ensure their employees follow guidelines that will honor their company and properly serve their clients.

As an avid golfer, I realize the purpose of rules for the game I dearly love. All organized sports have rules for a reason – without boundaries there would be chaos; players would take advantage of whatever they wanted to do. Without adequate and proper rules, the result would be competitive anarchy.

I believe this is the problem with all the cultural upheaval we have seen in recent years. Many people simply make up the rules as they go through life and do whatever they feel is right in their own eyes. In fact, this is what the Old Testament tells us. In Judges 2:10-11 we read “After the whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals.”

Now, let me suggest we approach this from a different direction. Rather than assessing blame, I would prefer to offer what I feel is the antidote to this growing spiritual pandemic. Those of us having a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ are able to appropriate His life spiritually, through the Holy Spirit who lives in us. We need to call on the Lord to fill us with His Spirit and give us the discernment needed for taking proper action to ensure that God’s message of peace and hope is communicated effectively, permeating the hearts of those around us.

Within this context of seeking to live a counter-cultural life that honors God, I think of the words written by the apostle Paul in Colossians 3:15-17: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

We need to hold tightly to what we know is true and correct, with wisdom standing strong in the grace bestowed on us by our Lord. Then we can pray for healing and restoration of the culture and our people, including the men and women we encounter each day in the marketplace.

© 2021, all rights reserved. Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his relationship with God. His goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him. A long-time member of CBMC, he started writing “Fourth Quarter Strategies” in 2014.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1.  What are your thoughts about the cultural changes we have experienced in recent years? Do you find yourself conforming to those changes, even though they might be contrary to beliefs and practices you have followed in the past?
  2. Why do you think it is so difficult to stand up for values that contradict the changing culture?
  3. In the book of Romans, we find this statement by the apostle Paul: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation of everyone who believes…. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith…. ‘The righteous will live by faith’” (Romans 1:16). How do you think we can apply that to how we deal with the ever-changing culture around us?
  4. When you consider what you know about the life of Jesus Christ, how do you think He addressed challenges with the culture in which He lived on earth? What can that teach us?

NOTE: For more about what the Bible says, consider the following passages: Psalm 139:23-24; Jeremiah 31:33-34; Romans 8:26-27; Ephesians 5:11-17; Colossians 1:27-29


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