But influence cuts both ways....it can be good...it can be bad...
I know that this is a slippery slope that I'm writing about this morning. One side will rise up to cast out all influence of society. Such is dangerous of becoming a new breed of pharisee. The keeper of what is and isn't appropriate for the followers of Jesus. On the other hand, there will also be a group who doesn't see much wrong with societal influence. Their reasoning is that "Hey! We live in this society...it's a part of life". Bottom line is that each group casts a wary eye on each other. The "anything goes" group thinks the "pharisee" group is judging them (and they probably are) for the lifestyle they have adopted. At the same time, the "anything goes" group" counts the "pharisee" group among the many nut-jobs out there running around trying to be the morality police.
Neither do I endorse the actions and lifestyle of the anything goes bunch. I think the balance, or middle ground, in this whole mess is "What Does God Say?" I don't believe we get to make that call on what our reaction should be. I may be stretching things a bit here, but I do believe that it is Jesus' church. Is it not? He died for it...it was created from the blood he shed. WE are his body, while we are taking up space here on planet earth, and once we die, we will eventually join the ranks and be known as the Bride of Christ.
In Matthew 5:13-14, Jesus refers to us as being "Salt and Light". Salt brings flavor to a meal that is rather dull. Salt is also a preservative for food. We are to bring the influence (flavor) and Salvation (preservative) to a world that is lost and struggling to find a semblance of meaning to life.
We are also called "Light" by Jesus. We are to bring understanding (Light) to hearts that are weighed down by spiritual darkness. Hard to see the right thing and the right way, when your understanding, as well as your direction, is being guided by the wrong voice.
The one thing that I've held on to during my hears at Vineyard, is that I want to influence people in a way that will open their hearts and minds to the truth and reality that Jesus is who He claims to be, and will do what He has promised He would do. To be a non-religious influence in a world of religion gone mad. Have I succeeded at this? Not always, but I'm not going to stop trying.
God on you....