“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.                                     Matthew 5:13 NRS

Researchers continue to tell us that the top ten things we Christians value are no different than the top ten of the world around us. The top value for them and us is material satisfaction. That is, we, like them, think that if we just had enough things, we would be happy. Yet, we Christians continue to complain about the decline of our culture. What are we thinking?

I suggest it goes something like this. “It used to be that people worked hard for what they got, and gave an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. But look now, people think they can just lay around and somebody should give them what they want on a platter. Or worse yet, can you believe it, they just walk into a store and steal it! What’s happening to us?” Well, what is happening to us is that we are getting smarter. If the goal of life is to have the most things, then you should get the most things the easiest way you can. Why work for it if you don’t have to?

The problem is that the goal is not to get the most things! The Christian salt has lost its taste, and the culture around us is decaying as a result. We need to be showing the world that the goal is to be Christlike. It is to be living a life of self-denying love, of integrity for the sake of others, of undeserved kindness, of obedience to God’s commands whether they pay off materially or not. Why give an honest day’s work to our employers? NOT because that is the best way to get the most things! It is because integrity is God’s way. Why obey the laws that our community has adopted? NOT because the cops force us to! It is because responsible and accountable behavior is God’s way.

Unless we let the Holy Spirit get a grip on us and change the flavor of our lives, we should not be in the least surprised to see the culture around us sliding deeper into decay. Really, what are your values? The world’s or the Spirit’s?

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