By Dr. Douglas F. Levesque, Founder of The Levesque Institute
A man named Demas once left his chosen path of Christian service because he “loved this present world.” The minefield of choices lying astride of God’s prescribed path was a danger two millennia ago and prompted Paul of Tarsus to warn young Timotheus that, in the last days, men would be “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” (II Timothy 3:4). These last days are certainly more perilous than ever and the proliferation of pleasures have compounded the difficulty to pursue right paths an hundred fold.
Roots and Fruits
We Americans have received the fruits of a Biblical culture including prosperity and consumer freedoms. However, we have exported these cultural blessings without exporting with equal vigor their foundational premises. The world, in turn, and in a great degree sees us as a devouring demon of all that men can produce. They imagine a greedy never-satisfied dragon whose insatiable appetite will destroy all that is decent and good. Can we blame them? Are we proud of such a self-centered and incongruous reputation? Is this ill repute also being passed off by other competing ideologies as the fruits of Christianity? We must do more to defend and promote the roots of our Biblical ideology.
Love Not the World
Bible advocates must heed what we read and practice the principles that we preach. It does us no service to play into Madison Avenue’s marketing schemes and become consumed with houses, cars, techno-gadgets, and passing fashions. Do we need hair plugs, teeth whiteners, and imported shoes in order to set ourselves apart as lovers of God or are we copying worldly errors? As adamantly as we proclaim a right to life and the institution of marriage we must herald the principles of self-restraint, holy living, and decrying evil. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)
The Bible’s Focus
A final and ultimate objective of a culture whose core is from Biblical thought and conscience should be to champion truth, speak only faith filled-reason, and unashamedly herald the Gospel of Jesus Christ (John 14:6,Acts 3:26,Romans 1:16). It is no crime to love God or to carry that love into every aspect of life and society. It is both possible and practical to be a courier of the love of God into the courtroom and the classroom; the boardroom and the battlefield; the legislative forum and the lights of Broadway (II Corinthians 2:14-17). Jesus gave the greatest commandment, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Matthew 22:37).
In 2004, Americans gave 65.5 billion to churches and other charitable organizations.1
In comparison, in 2005 the average American spent 589 billion on entertainment and food away from home. It is estimated that Americans will spend over $40 billion on their pets in 2007, and by 2010 over $60 billion will be spent on weight-loss programs.2
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics the average American in 2006 spent 12 minutes a week involved in religious and spiritual activities.
In comparison during the same year Americans spent 8.5 hours each week involved in leisure and sport activities. 3
1Data from www.generousgiving.org, Statistics & Trends: Spending Priorities.
2Consumer Expenditures in 2005, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics Report 998.
3Data from www.bls.gov