The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out~ Proverbs 18:15 NIV
I recently celebrated a birthday that puts me squarely into the category of “older” woman. I found this realization a bit disturbing at first. The negatives of aging are all too obvious. Nothing looks as good as it once did or works quite as well as it used to.
Time feels like it passes more quickly after a certain age. This age-related time warp leads to some peculiar forms of culture shock. I find it more than a little irritating when manufacturers attempt to pass off ugly fashion as “novel” or “new” when it’s really just an uglier version of the stuff we wore back in the day. Furthermore, I will never get so old as to forget the dismay I felt when I heard my favorite song from high school being played on the “oldie” station.
Happily, I have also come to realize that there are things about getting older that are not all bad. The awareness that life is short makes it easier to relax and worry less about stupid stuff. Time gives a deeper appreciation and greater tolerance for people, especially those people who stick around through thick and thin. In general I care less about the judgments of others than I once did.
This is all very freeing and freeing is good.
There are some things about getting older that are neither good nor bad. They are just kind of weird. As you get older life becomes a little bit like the movie Groundhog Day. You’ve seen almost everything. Most things, more than once and over time you just know how most situations are going to end because some stuff always ends badly.
Over time it becomes clear to anyone who thinks that some endeavors just don’t work well over the long haul. Crime rarely pays; cheaters, thieves and gossips eventually get caught in snares they stupidly set for themselves. Laziness results in poverty, and there are simply some attitudes and behaviors you embrace to your own peril if you want relationships to have even a minimal shot at survival.
That’s the obvious stuff.
There are some other more subtle truths about life that you pick up over time. Some of those truths feel counterintuitive, like the fact that it actually pays to suck it up and have regular car maintenance done. Cheap-ing out on oil changes feels like a good way to save a little money but the “payoff” is always short lived.
When I was younger I subconsciously believed that if I ignored the things that made me feel afraid or uncomfortable then those things would simply go away. Because current world events were typically unpleasant, the news made me uncomfortable, sometimes even afraid. So I ignored it. I simply tuned out and went on with my little life. Sadly, nothing unpleasant went away while I was busy tuning out. The world just got worse. So I tuned back into the culture only to discover that my Christian brothers and sisters were still mostly tuned out.
Nothing improves when Christians tune out of the culture and retreat to their holy huddles. Christians are the only preserving influence this world has (Matthew 5:13-16). When Christians step out of the cultural arena, the culture suffers and so does the church. When we stop working to preserve the culture the church does not become more holy. The reverse occurs; when we stop using our influence we lose influence. Then the Church begins to atrophy and loses its ability to know right from wrong.
We are officially in an election year. There are Christians who don’t even know who their current leaders are, let alone who’s running. This is beyond disgraceful. It’s time for Christian people to step up and get involved. The future of both the Church and the culture is at stake. It all starts with choosing to obey the command to love God with our minds (Matthew 22:37). I am convinced good Christians educate themselves on the issues of their day.
We need to know what candidates have done, not just what they tell us they have done. Our information should come from sources other than the candidate, political ads or the internet. Once we’ve become educated on the issues we need to take what we’ve learned about each candidate and decide who is most fit to lead. Then we need to fight for those men and women. Once we have done all we can do we need to get on our knees and pray for revival and a return to righteousness.