The following post is an article written by Dr. John A. Temple, Senior Pastor of Poplar Springs Drive Baptist Church in Meridian, Mississippi, United States of America. It is posted here with permission. I should also note that Dr. Temple was one of my seminary professors at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
Dr. Temple’s article caused me to pause and reflect on my own life, taking an assessment of my focus and values. I pray you have a meaningful experience as well.
Shepherd’s Heart – Saturday, August 13, 2016
Romans 12:2 (NASB)
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
I have been searching for the word that describes our society. The word is “lasciviousness.” This is a big word, often used in the New Testament (nine times) yet rarely understood. Let me describe “lasciviousness” for you, and ask yourself if this doesn’t describe your culture.
Lasciviousness is an inclusive term for any form of excess. It describes a lack of boundaries. There is no concept of right and wrong. There is no distinction of proper and improper. There is no remorse or shame when actions are considered unacceptable.
Lasciviousness expresses itself with insensitivity to others. It does not care about the impact on other people. The desire to please self supersedes the collateral damage caused. Statements reflect this concept: “Rights” override “responsibilities.” “If it feels good, do it.” “If you think it, say it.” “If you like it, take it.” “The end justifies the means.” Public decency is behind the times. Being over the top is to be popular and accepted.
Lasciviousness is reckless. There is no reference point to consequences. Many believe there should be no consequences. Such a person is outraged that someone calls their hand. They consider anyone who opposes their excess to be hateful and intolerant. Without reference to the future, living in the moment is all that matters.
Lasciviousness is a life without feeling. Such people become calloused. Nothing shocks them anymore. Bored with the latest excess, the next act must be even more outrageous. They search for fulfillment little realizing that the direction they travel will never completely satisfy.
Because lasciviousness is so prevalent in our society, Christians are tempted to join in the excess. Christians entertain themselves with the excesses of the world and consider it normal without realizing that such things are not the kingdom of God. Like the world, Christians, dress provocatively, speak crudely, think perverse thoughts, laugh at dirty jokes, and generally wallow in the excesses of a society that has turned from God. All the while, the Christians fail to see that their world is out of God’s purpose and so are they if they live like the misguided around them.
The wise believer will strive to not be conformed to the world. Their fulfillment will be realized by pleasing the Lord. Their desire is to walk worthy of their calling. Their mission is to live a life that encourages others to join in, being a compassionate neighbor and a considerate citizen. As we consider the future of our land, let us look for true character and merit.