Having covered extensively the effects of a “poison-pill” thinking on our own spirituality, I turn now to the way that this affects our daily lives. This blog brings us back to the question that started this whole deal: what is edifying? Here’s the wrap-up blog on this matter. Here are some principles to consider.
1) Be careful. If you know something makes you struggle, be careful about engaging it. I hesitate to say never engage it, because I believe in spiritual growth and victory over temptation. I am of course fully aware that certain things are reprehensible. Thinking of sexuality, because it’s splattered everywhere, Christians should not view pornography. We should fast-forward sex scenes in movies. We should be very careful about art books and galleries and such things. Our eyes don’t simply view things. They take pictures of them, and those pictures stay in our minds, and come back to us. So be careful about what you engage. I would also say that I’ve dealt in this brief paragraph with sexual temptation, but Christians will need to apply this to countless temptations: stealing, swearing, cheating, violence, drugs, lawlessness, and the like. Know your weaknesses, and be careful about what you engage. And don’t worry about looking like a moralistic stick-up; far more important than man’s acceptance is God’s praise.
2) Find truth. Once you’ve developed a careful mindset, go out and engage with your world and find the goodness in it. Think of the world as if God has planted little Easter eggs of truth all over the place and then bidden you to find them. Go get ‘em. Find what is true and good and beautiful in blues music, in artistical sculptures, in literary tomes. Find truth in Christian content, and find it in secular content. Find it in books on leadership, and find it in football games. Find it in Time, Relevant, and the New Yorker. Find it in John Piper, Mark Dever, and Nietzche. Find it in a devotional book, and find it in a fashion magazine. Find it in the Luther movie, and find it in The Thin Red Line. Find it in Shakespeare, and find it in W.E.B. Dubois. Find it in old hymns, new choruses, and Bob Dylan. Where truth is spoken, take it for yourself, own it, and treasure it. Though that egg be buried in a patch of manure, as it many times will be, prize it. In cultural insight, in practical parenting advice, in capturing the sadness of death, in depicting the happiness of birth, in a novel on teamwork, in the struggle of good against evil, in commentary on social graces, in all these and so much more, find truth. It’s not simply in your favorite Christian authors and musicians. It’s in the Sierra Club and Democratic platforms and Libertarian arguments. It’s in Kant, Frederick Weil, and Oprah. It’s all over the place. Find it.
3) Give God praise for His truth. This is the end of edification, that we would be built up in our love for God, and give Him our praise. This may seem like the throw-in point, but it’s definitely not. We must remember as we engage this world that it is God’s. He didn’t simply write the spiritual truth, contained in the Bible, and all the other stuff is caused by cosmic forces and junk like that. He is the very author of truth, and we must always remember that, and give Him praise for it. This reminds that the search for truth, for edification, is not simply a search for good earthly things. It is no less than a search for God and His work among us.