What comes to mind when you think about society? By society, I mean the values that are prevalent among a given group of people like western society or the American society. I am referring to the people, places, things, and events that news media reports on and fill our computer and phone screens.
When you think about American society, do you have positive, negative, or neutral thoughts? What I tend to hear is that society is a mess. Society is coming apart at the seams. I hear that society has significantly declined morally and ethically for decades. Society is in deep trouble and getting worse.
If we asked fifty people on the street why society is in such a mess, we might get fifty different answers, but a few tend to surface more than others. These include the breakdown of the two-parent home, political policies, either right or left, or the removal of outward practices that honor God and country in schools. A few think society started going downhill when the hippies of the 1960s railed against government authority and advocated for sex without boundaries. All these, and other reasons for societal breakdown might be true, but there is a broader explanation.
I think about society from a theological or Biblical perspective. I believe that God is all-knowing, therefore God’s explanation for societal dysfunction makes sense.
Author and former pastor John Mark Comer wrote a book titled Live No Lies: Recognize and Resist the Three Enemies That Sabotage Your Peace. Comer gives a Biblical reason for societal mess. He says society is in moral, ethical, and spiritual decline because “we are at war with the world, the flesh, and the devil. The three enemies’ stratagem is deceptive ideas that play to disordered desires that are normalized in a sinful society.” Read that sentence again. The devil is real, as Jesus encountered and believed, and the devil’s primary weapon is lies. Those lies play or appeal to our flesh or disordered desires. Over time these disordered desires are accepted and become normal in a sinful society.
Whether you believe in the devil or not, you must be aware of the lies society has bought into over time. The biggest lie is that happiness is the primary pursuit of a person’s life. Happiness is pursued and discovered by following one’s heart or feelings. My favorite example of this is the lie that buying a certain product or service will make me happy. Buying that product or service feeds my desire for temporary happiness, which is normal in society.
I am certain you can think of many other examples of Comer’s working theory.
This understanding of why society is in such a mess gives me a perspective that frees me from being angry or depressed at what is acceptable in society. I realize that the solution is to fight against lies with the truth, or what is real. What is real, what is reliable comes from the creator of truth, God.
When Jesus says, “I have come to give life and give it to the full” or “abundantly,” he is saying that in him and his teachings a person can learn to live according to reality, thus find true lasting happiness in him.
Friends, the solution to society’s mess is fighting the lies with the truth that true joy is possible by trusting your life to Jesus and living according to the Jesus way. Jesus has your best interest in mind. Society does not. In the end, we all choose who we trust, the lies of the devil or the truth of God.
As for me, I choose God.