Who Do We Follow?

I remember the name of the William Morris Chevrolet dealership because the owner does radio spots on the local Christian station. But instead of using his advertisement time to talk about his cars or service or low prices, he gives a devotional, usually something he’s learned from his personal experience.

In the latest one, he said he was writing about following the Word, but accidentally wrote world instead. Then he realized. In reality we do follow one or the other–the Word or the world.

Good insight. More true probably than we even realize.

For instance, the world adopts tolerance as its highest value and suddenly Christians begin to talk about loving homosexuals and those in the inner city and prisoners and unwed mothers.

But doesn’t Scripture admonition God’s children to care for orphans and widows, the poor and the stranger? Didn’t Christ tell us to love our neighbor, our brother, and even our enemy? So why do we rush after the trends of the world when the Bible had it right all along?

If we would faithfully read, preach, obey the Word, we would be showing the world how to live rather than toddling along behind.

There are so many current issues to which Christians are reacting–feminism, homosexuality, welfare, immigration, socialism. For some, “reacting” means resisting and for others, it means imitating–the Christian version of feminism, the Christian version of welfare.

Rather than letting the world pull us here and there, the Church should turn to God’s Word and see what His principles are that we ought to apply.

The same is true for theological issues. Atheists say a god so violent as to command the extermination of a whole race of people is too abhorrent to believe in, so a group of professing Christians band together and re-image God as a kinder, gentler Jesus.

Western culture says Christians are hateful hypocrites, and Christians dutifully follow with Church-bashing books.

The easy answer would seem to be to withdraw from the influence of the world.

The problem is, however, that God gave Christians the task of proclaiming “the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9b). This proclaiming necessitates our involvement with the world. So how do we do it in a way that the world will hear?

Once upon a time there were Rescue Missions and tent meetings and evangelistic crusades and street preachers and door to door evangelism. But somewhere along the line our western culture became too sophisticated for all those. The preaching had to be slick and professional. No one except the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons wanted to go door to door any more. Government welfare and an increase in credit-induced affluence made inner city missions a bit passe.

Essentially the Church followed the world into comfort and ease, rather than taking up our cross daily and following Christ to connect with our culture and proclaim His excellencies.

Not that the old methods needed to be calcified into unbending tradition. But neither should we abandon the principles upon which the old methods were founded.

Jesus told His disciples before sending them off on a short term mission that they were to be wise as serpents and as innocent as doves. And so should we.

We can’t afford to continue making the same mistakes. We need to follow God’s Word, not the world.

And yet it is the world we need to engage.

We mustn’t bury our heads and stay locked away from the world. We tried that because we wanted to keep our children safe, and the world without Godly moral guidelines has become a place where those children, when they are grown, may well face persecution for their faith.

Unless God brings revival.

But will He if we don’t ask Him to? Will He if we continue padding along behind the world, adopting their business models to run our churches, listening to their psychologists to learn how to discipline our children, studying their economists to figure out how to handle our money? As if the Bible doesn’t speak to these issues.

As I think about this, it makes sense that we would follow the world more than we follow the Word, simply because we spend so much more time in the culture than we do with God. And in a sense, we should.

God purposefully left us in the world rather than taking us out, to be with Him. He has a job for us to do here–that proclamation bit He assigned to us.

But what we struggle with, it seems, is allowing our time with God in His Word to inform our actions and attitudes when we are in the world. Instead, the reverse is becoming true–our time in the world is informing our attitudes toward the Word.

William Morris Chevrolet stands out in my mind because their owner decided to do something different. Perhaps that’s the lesson the Church needs to learn. To reach the world, maybe we should be radically, Biblically different rather than walking along behind, adopting the culture’s way of doing things. Maybe in our difference, we can proclaim God’s excellencies and so catch their attention.


  1. Very insightful comments. Thank you! I love how you are sharing the gospel and trying to touch people’s hearts. I have been concerned about spreading the gospel to as many people as I can. I am reading a book that is helping me with that. The book is called, “The iChurch Method: How to Advance Your Ministry Online.” by author Jason Caston. The purpose of this book is to help ministries advance the Kingdom online and take the gospel to the world. http://www.theichurchmethod.com/ I’d love to know what you think!


  2. Great points, Becky.

    “Western culture says Christians are hateful hypocrites, and Christians dutifully follow with Church-bashing books.”

    I’ve been bombarded by this over the past month or two for some reason, and I have to say, after awhile the negativity is just too much to swallow. I have to walk away from such discussions that portray the American church as utterly inept. It was that inept church that led me to Jesus so it must be doing something right.


  3. Love this post, Becky! And it was so timely for me too. Was thinking and praying on these very things today, so might actually be a confirmation for me.


  4. Robyn, thanks for stopping by. I’ll have to give the idea of iChurch some thought, but here’s my initial reaction. We do talk about the online writing community, but the problem is, there’s no accountability.

    I can see social media as a method but not the end game.

    I appreciate you taking the time to comment.



  5. Jessica, you said

    I have to walk away from such discussions that portray the American church as utterly inept. It was that inept church that led me to Jesus so it must be doing something right.

    It is that same Church that Jesus calls His bride, His body. We who make it up are His children, friends, servants. Somehow bashing the Church just seems like it inevitably is a reflection on Christ–that He’s not doing it right or has picked the wrong bride or has failed as the head.

    No doubt we are a work in progress. No doubt we are flawed and weak. But that’s to God’s glory that He would redeem such as we, that His power can make something out of our weakness.

    I just wrote that series of posts on Corrie ten Boom and in some ways she is the perfect picture of the Church. She was on the down side of life, single, without great resources and no speaking or writing experience to speak of, and yet, because God is strong, she carried the message of love and forgiveness to thousands upon thousands of people, and is in fact still doing so today.

    So who are we to point fingers and say God’s Church is a mess? Of course it is. It’s made up of messy people all in different places of formation in Christ’s image. We aren’t going to look all put together here on earth, this side of Christ’s return.

    Energy used to bash the Church would be more wisely spent praying for our sanctification, I think.

    Heh heh heh, Yep, this is one of the issues I can get carried away about.



  6. Glad you stopped by, Beth, and that these thoughts are helping you sort out the matters you were praying about. God is faithful!



  7. Very thoughtful post. I am glad that I found your blog. It reminds me that the Word is still relevant in the world. It also challenges me to look at areas of my life where I may be reactionary rather than visionary.


  8. Thanks for your feedback, Peter. I’m glad you found this blog too. God has a way of knowing what we need, doesn’t He? So great that He gives us the opportunity of knowing and serving Him.



  9. […] last Thursday when I wrote the post “Who Do We Follow?” I’ve been mulling over the question what it means to be “in the world but not of […]


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