Anchor On … The real mainstream
Saturday, March 11, 2017 6:57 AM
A “stream” is considered to be “anything issuing from a source and moving with a continued succession … a current, a drift of opinions or manners” (Webster 1828). We hear politicians using the term “mainstream” quite often, the mention of which carries the suggestion that it is their viewpoint, of course, that floats in the midst of current popularity. If the public can be convinced that the majority holds to a philosophy – though it be maligned or even evil – then a position of power may be won.
Words have great power – especially when they are broadcast to multitudes of people. Our trust in those who choose what to report and what to omit in the daily media diet is near the bottom of the barrel. We realize that they clearly have agendas to promote and have moved away from informed reporting to intentional repositioning of the public mindset, in too many cases.
It is difficult to oppose the stream of public opinion. Our nature is to want acceptance and validity. Young folks are especially vulnerable to pressures that would confirm them to the latest, most popular speech, conduct, attire and gadgetry. We must all make the effort to build sound disciplines into our lives so that we are not taken by a trend that presumes to be merely “new” and “popular.” What is advertised as “mainstream” could shipwreck our little vessel of life on the whitewater rapids of ruin.
Social mindset can be changed in a generation or less. “Values” of dishonesty and lack of integrity that would have been virtually rejected 30 years ago are now openly accepted by many today. We wonder how it could be possible that government, commerce, education and the sports world could have denounced sound and reasonable values that once made our nation the one the world looked to for leadership.
The Bible portrays a worldview that contrasts vividly to the one our human nature holds. We think pretty well of ourselves, and that God should have no trouble allowing us to enjoy, eventually, the eternal rest we have “earned.” Solomon, the king of Israel, took dictations from the Lord as he wrote: “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). Shocking to read, isn’t it? We all have a share of human goodness, but that is not the heavenly goodness that God can accept. Only the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to our account will pay the penalty for sin.
The “devolution” of the human spirit seems to enhance itself decade by decade. Good and evil become more turned around as time goes on – thus proving what the Apostle Paul read in the Old Testament and recorded again in the New: “There is none righteous, no, not one … none that understandeth … none that seeketh after God … all gone out of the way … together become unprofitable …. none that doeth good, no, not one” (Romans 3:10-12). It really is “hate speech,” in that you and I should hate the fact that it applies to us!
It is so easy to gloss over our sin and say we are “only human.” God sees what we cannot naturally comprehend. The outright sin that we might label “inappropriate misjudgment” is atrocious in the sight of a holy God. He cannot and will not forgive apart from the atoning death of His only Son, “for there is no difference: For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:22c and 23). Paul brings complete clarity in declaring: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
As the world system moves farther each year from a loving Creator, it nudges itself more closely to a final judgment that must be enacted for those who individually have chosen to disbelieve the truth God has made plain in the Bible. We can each begin to really know God by immersing ourselves in His Word. Jesus prayed: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). Knowing God is a daily adventure that grows each moment we spend in study, prayer, worship and service.
One little person who separates from the world system of greed and promotion to become more in love with God is headed in the right direction. When they receive Jesus Christ as Savior into the sanctity of their hearts, they are given “power to become the sons of God” (John 1:12). They are given power to live in opposition to “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 5:16) that is so mainstream in the world around us. The thriving Christian believers who repent of sin and desire God’s presence more than anything else will find themselves in the real “mainstream.”
The book of Proverbs will give you at least one chapter a day to better realize how the mainstream of life is described. God uses these words in chapter one: wisdom, instruction, understanding, justice, judgment, equity, knowledge and discretion. He tells us to seek these and to incline our hearts to them in chapter two. They are the “tree of life” in chapter three and the “path of the just in four.”
We are to “attend unto” them in five, and six gives us the seven things the Lord hates. The mainstream is “the apple of God’s eye” in seven and “life and favor” in eight. “Fear” of God is brought out in chapter nine, and the “well” and “way” of life in ten.
“Safety is listed in 11, and the way of “righteousness” in 12. “Wealth” is in 13 and “faithfulness” in 14. A “soft answer” is mainstream in 15, and the “highway of the upright” in 16. “Inheritance” is in 17:2, and “friendliness” is in 18. Avoiding haste is in 19:2, as is the mockery of strong drink in chapter 20. “Joy to the just” is in 21:15, and keeping the “ancient landmarks” is advised in 22.
We are to “buy the truth” in 23 and not to “have respect of persons” in chapter 24. “A word fitly spoken” is in 25, and the lying tongue and flattering mouth in 26. Mainstream with God is to be “prudent” in 27, and “confessing sins” in 28. Having a vision for lawfulness is in 29, and the purity of God’s Word is listed in 30. Proverbs 31:30 declares praise for the virtuous woman.
This thumbnail sketch of Proverbs is a taste of God’s “mainstream,” which is able to navigate our ship of life over the treacherous shoals and through the storms. God forgives and forgets our past when we are on board with Christ. What is important to Him is that we finish life on the mainstream – God’s way.