We are always being formed. We can’t protect ourselves from the formation of our thinking, behavior, and habits. The only decision we have in the matter is what will form us. If we just seek to live our lives without regard for what we are inputting into our brains, we will be shaped by the surrounding culture—through music, television, advertisements, family, friends, books, daily routines, etc. Even if we were to cut all of this out, we would be formed by our isolation into a self-absorbed jerk of a person.
Be Yourself . . .
The message of the world is to just “be yourself.” But what this really means is to do what you like to do. Pursue the things that you crave. Do whatever is fun and fills you with purpose. This is often painted as the valiant life pursuit, but if we really think about it, there is nothing easier. If we run towards what we love, it’ll feel like we can run forever. But when has doing the right thing ever come easy? We all know that some of the best things in life come through struggle and pain. So, maybe what’s right is that we strive towards who we should become rather than who we are currently.
Rather, Be Like Jesus
Taking this philosophical view of the pursuit of life into the Christian realm is easy in theory. Christians are people who have committed themselves to serve Jesus Christ as their Lord. The goal is that they are not trying to be true to themselves but to steadfastly pursue becoming like Christ, and in that pursuit, they find everything they were created to be. But in practice this isn’t easy at all. It takes conscious effort to put ourselves at the feet of Jesus (Jesus called this taking up your cross daily) to be formed into his likeness. We need to spend daily and weekly time in prayer, bible reading, sermons, worshiping in song, solid Christian books, etc. When we aren’t doing these things, the world is forming us in its likeness. Every choice to turn on Netflix rather than open the word is a choice to be formed by the culture. And here’s the thing: choosing Netflix is easy; choosing to do what’s right, choosing to do what Christ would do, is one of the hardest struggles we will ever experience, but it is the only decision that has true present and internal value. And God has placed his Holy Spirit in us, giving us the grace and power we need to be ultimately successful in our pursuit.
The Equip Seminars Provide You with Opportunity
This is why I believe in the Equip seminars. It gives people at Mercy Hill the opportunity to have their lives formed according to Scripture. Everyday Evangelism reminds us that every single day is an opportunity to share with others the message of God’s salvation in Christ and gives attendees tools to be able to pursue a life on mission. Everyday Counseling teaches us how to handle hard situations with our friends and acquaintances according to Scripture and in a gospel-centered way; this is how we truly love those who are hurting. Marriage & Family helps to guard our marriages against the lies the world tells us about how marriage should look and shows what God himself, in his word, says about how and why he designed marriage. Biblical Parenting will help families move forward in training up their children in the way they should go, knowing how to hold the correct balance between discipline and grace. In Financial Peace, Dave Ramsey teaches how to manage money in a biblical, God-honoring way which is a necessity in our consumerist society.
On July 9, 16, 23, and 30, there is an opportunity to escape from the culture that is forming you every minute of the day that you are not choosing to fight against it. Choose to do battle and fight the hardest fight of your life by hanging out with us on Monday nights for four weeks at the Regional Campus.
-Alex Nolette (Equip Coordinator)