Everything is lawful, but not everything is helpful

In daily practice my faithfulness to a disciplined Bible reading habit has always varied, but since I was small my parents gently impressed on me that God’s Word is a necessary part of every day. As I have been more or less consistent, I’ve seen that proven absolutely true. The Holy Spirit is always at work in believers, but there is a certain readiness of mind and heart I find I lack when I’m not immersed in the Bible.

I think it’s that way for every believer, but especially so for me since one of the primary ways God speaks to me is through His word. I find that so lovely; He created me a words person and because he knows us each individually, he speaks to us in the ways that we understand best.

Even after eight months of working a split shift I’ve had difficulty finding the best time to read my Bible on this schedule. So lately I really like YouVersion, which makes the ESV Bible app on my iPhone but also has a wide variety of daily reading plans that you can get emailed to you.

I’m going through a reading plan right now called Soul Detox that I love. It comes into my inbox each morning and I can read it any time– often on a quick break at work, or later on my phone. Each day has a short introduction and a passage or two, and it’s quick to read but plenty to meditate on.

Today’s reading had this question: “What standards are you using to filter out cultural toxins in your life? How well do you think your standards match God’s?”

That question could be Sunday school-simple to answer, but it got me thinking.
I’ve made a list of areas I often see the world’s influence in my life, and I’m sharing them because I’d welcome both accountability and thoughts on your own list:

*My attitude toward money

*My motivation for exercising and making healthy food

*My motivation for interest in clothes, makeup and fashion
*”Adult” content in books, movies and tv shows– am I willing to skip an episode of 30 Rock, for instance, if the whole premise is based on something I don’t need to watch?
*Swearing in movies, shows and books– just because I don’t swear aloud doesn’t mean those words won’t pop into my head in traffic, and if it’s in my head, it may very well come out of my mouth.
*My attitude toward news, politics and current events
*Cynicism, whether toward politics and current events, or other people, or work
*Fear of man or making myself pleasing to others instead of presenting myself in holiness and trusting Christ for favor where I need it
*Undue emphasis on “me time,” or listening too much to the world’s reminder that I come first in my life
*Conversely, the inability to rest and be at peace instead of always striving to complete a check-list, even in my “rest”– I know my mind is rarely quiet when I sit down to read or pray. I think this largely comes from a desire to prove to “the inimitable collective them,” as Claire in Elizabethtown phrases it, that I can be successful and productive, counting productivity by the world’s standards and not God’s.
*My attitude toward work– do I see it as a drudgery or a vocation? Am I going through the motions or seeking to become better at it? Do I work in light of the gospel?

The reading for the day was 1Corinthians 6. I think I’ll print it out and put it up as a reminder, along with my list. I pray the Lord sharpens my sensitivity to cultural influence in these areas.


About Michal Conger

I’m a reporter and digital editor, a cooking and whole foods fanatic, a runner, a music lover, an Anthropologie devotee. I'm an avid reader of G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and anti-modernist novels. Lately you’ll find me freelancing about education policy and local economic issues to support my horseback riding habit. I am married to my best friend. And above all, I am committed to bearing the testimony of the Lord Jesus, giving an answer for the hope that is in me.
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