DayBreaks for 5/19/16 – The Cobra of Culture
NOTE: Galen will be out of the office and traveling next week.
From the DayBreaks archive, May 2006:
You’ve seen them on nature shows: the snake charmer with the cobra. And you’ve maybe seen them on shows that depict the cobra living in the wild – coiled, raised up, swaying back and forth, staring at their soon-to-be prey. And almost faster than you can see, the cobra strikes, killing the victim with its deadly venom.
1 John 2:15 says, Do not love the world or anything in the world. As Brian Jones notes in Second-Guessing God, the Greek word for world is kosmos. It’s translated as either world or beauty, depending on the context in which it is used. We get our word, cosmos from it, but also our word for “cosmetics”. So the world is not only the world itself, but the beautiful things that are in the world – sculptures, beautiful people, “natural” wonders that take our breath away. So why does the bible use kosmos in a negative way – telling us to not love the either the world or the things that are in it?
Jones writes: “I think it’s because God knew we could easily fall into the hypnotic stare of our culture and waste our loves, just like the rabbit…seeking happiness from what was created rather than its Creator. God’s gift to us then, in those lethal moments, is to send trials to shake us free from our culture’s grasp to see our situation for what it really is…what writer Simone Weil once said is absolutely true: ‘If there were no afflictions in this world we might think we were in paradise.’”
What aspects of our culture are like the cobra to you? What holds your fascination? Are you sure that it is safe, harmless? Or even better yet, is it making your life – your true, real life of the spirit, not of the flesh – more holy and righteous?
Because culture is of human origin, and because humans are inherently sinful and flawed, culture by and large has always been antithetical to God. As Kevin DeYoung said in his book about humans and our cultures, “Desire must never be given the priority over obedience. Intense longings do not turn sinful wrongs into civil rights.”
The cobra of culture is coiled, swaying back and forth trying to get us to freeze and focus on it. Beware – it may strike so quickly that you’ll be dead before you know what happened.
PRAYER: Lord, how easily we fall under the sway of the evil one and how we resist the loving call of your Spirit to holiness and the pursuit of the holy! Open our ears, enlighten our minds, give us clear vision to see the serpent as he was in the beginning, and even as he is today – our enemy, speaking to us through lying lips. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.