We usually get more questions than we have time for during our weekend service Q&As. We periodically follow up with responses in our Q&A Extras.
To stay aware of God more, should we only listen to Christian music, send our kids to private Christian schools, and read Christian books?
Staying aware of God does not require us to cocoon ourselves in a Christian world. I’m reminded of the story of Paul in Acts 17 (I’ll paraphrase because it’s a lengthy piece of scripture). Paul traveled to Athens, and he was concerned because there were many idols (statues of other gods) in the city. He spent some time there preaching and teaching about Jesus and the Resurrection. After some time, he was invited to talk at a forum. At this forum, he pointed to an altar labeled “To an unknown god”, and he proceeded to tell them about God. Some of them listened, and some of them sneered at him. There are two things we want to say in response to this question.
The first is that we need a place where we can regularly connect with God. Oftentimes, this is a private prayer time where Christian music is played. Sometimes it is in Christian books that are read or taught in Christian schools. It can even be found simply watching the sun set on the horizon. Even Jesus needed a “God timeout” from time to time, where he would disconnect from the world and find rest and peace in God. But we have a duty to find God wherever he is, and he’s not just in Christian music, schools, and books, which leads us to the second point.
We need to be ambassadors to this world. Ambassadors travel to another country, and they represent their home country. They learn the culture by partaking in the food, talking to the people, and understanding the celebrations and life of the local people. We are ambassadors of the Kingdom who are sent to the world. We are supposed to learn all we can about this world, and also represent the Kingdom in everything we do. There are limitations to what we should do. We shouldn’t pollute our minds and hearts, nor should we lose sight of the purpose with which we are called to this world: to spread the Gospel in what we do and say. But we can’t lock ourselves away from this world in which we’re called to be ambassadors.
Paul would never have been given an opportunity to present the gospel in Athens if he had simply sat around with his Christian friends. If we only partake in the Kingdom things that we have, we will fail in our mission as ambassadors to this world. There is no wisdom in being aware of God but not using it to reach the world. We need to understand the culture around us, and once we understand it, we should seek to show the world the Kingdom of God in ways that make sense to those around us.
In Luke 8:16, Jesus says “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.” The Kingdom of God was meant to be seen by the world. To get “full” of God, you can use Christian music, books, and schools. But when you get “full”, turn that fullness towards the world and spread the Kingdom. Bless the world around you out of the fullness that God brings to you.