If you have been attending Grace College Life, you know that we have been studying the books of Joshua and Judges this semester. I prefaced my talks on Judges by stating that it is a very violent and difficult book to read. It is a series of case studies on what happens when a group of people completely abandon God and pursue their own path.
The theme of the book is best summarized in Judges 21:25: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” This is a devastating critique of the people.
Frankly, it is not too far off from how a social observer might describe the culture in which we are living. Doing what is right in one’s own eyes is actually a celebrated value in this day and age. Jean Twenge, in her excellent book Generation Me, summarizes my generation with the following statement:
“This is the social trend — so strong it’s really a revolution — that ties all of the generational changes together in a neat, tight bundle: do what makes you happy, and don’t worry about what other people think. It is enormously different from the cultural ethos of previous decades, and it is a philosophy that GenMe takes entirely for granted. ‘As long as I believe in myself, I really do not care what others think,’ says Rachel, 21.”
This disinterest in others’ thoughts and feelings can quickly turn to insensitivity and violence. You and I are so steeped in the “me” culture that we often do not even realize it. The next time you are listening to the radio or watching television, count how many messages you receive that tell you to “do your own thing” or ” do what feels right to you.” You might be surprised.
The real question is, “Am I willing to obey God and His Word, even if it does NOT always make me happy or give me an immediate feeling of fulfillment?” Am I willing to set aside my temporary happiness for the pursuit of God’s eternal glory?
The Apostle Paul repeatedly emphasizes his willingness to endure suffering, hardship, persecution, and pain so that God’s life will be manifested in Him (2 Cor 4:7-11). Are you and willing to do the same so that the world can see a community of believers who seek HIS pleasure rather than OUR happiness?