Saturday, January 22, 2011

Squeezed into a mold

When I enrolled in a state university in the 1980s, I noticed students come from multitudes of backgrounds and take into every class beliefs, attitudes and goals that grew from what their parents and their associations taught.
If they were Christians, at a least a few scriptures implanted in their minds stood ready for recall.
Then in every classroom, even a music history class, textbooks and professors proceeded to tweezer out faith in God, morality and allegiance to America. Everything grew out of our appearance on earth without a Creator. Obscene books were among texts. If you wanted to graduate with “honors,” classes on the value of One-World Government was required.
Often as I walked about the hilly campus carrying books and going from building to building, I thought of how students come in talking differently, believing differently, dressing differently, laughing at different things, but they went out like so many painted mechanical toy soldiers speaking alike, living alike, dressing alike, believing alike and pursuing the same types of goals.
I actively resisted their attempt to squeeze out God’s Word and my faith, but 27 years after I graduated, I worry about how the minds of my children and grandchildren are changed by those who wish to remold their minds.
Today, it’s not only at the college level, but the molding of minds by our secular society starts in kindergarten. Thinking is being skillfully crafted by our media, and their world view carved into every age group from babies who can’t even talk to senior citizens who can barely see a television screen and hear the speakers.
Like the person Saint James spoke about that went out and looked into a mirror, but didn’t remember what he looked like, we don’t realize we are being changed. “If anyone be a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was” (James 1:23).
Paul wrote to the Romans, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from your own experience how his ways will really satisfy you” (Romans 12:2LB).
One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Romans 8, which starts, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (Romans 8: 1). The chapter gives us jewels to add to our faith, such as nothing can separate us from the love of God, but so often we remember “we aren’t condemned,” but forget why we aren’t condemned. We need to “walk according to the Spirit,” which I believe is living in obedience to God, guarding our minds and allowing Him to renew it.
We’re told in Scripture to “resist the devil” and “shun even the very appearance of evil.” That gives us guidance about what we should put into our minds. James speaks of God’s Word being a mirror that will show us the smudges on our character, the needed hair cut, stray hairs we need plucked from our eyebrows, and the weight we need to lose.
Romans 8 also talks about us being “conformed to the image of God’s Son.” How amazing! Jesus told John in his vision, “They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine“(Rev. 3:4-5NLT).