We live in spiritually dark days in America. But instead of shining brighter and exposing the darkness, many Christians have allowed their light to dim by giving into a slow and subtle desensitization towards the evil that permeates the culture. As our culture plunges into greater depravity, the temptation is to allow our eyes to adjust to the dark so that sin appears less sinful.
In 1981, evangelist Vance Havner preached a very a timely sermon entitled, “Getting Used to the Dark.” He said about the moral degradation of his day: “We get used to it. We get acclimated to it. We accept it as a matter of course, its language and its art and its literature and its music. We learn to live in it without an inner protest anymore. We don’t hate evil. We don’t abhor that which is evil. We don’t abstain from the very appearance of evil. We get used to the dark.”
In Acts 17, the Apostle Paul entered the city of Athens. It is said that Athens had more statues of idols than all the rest of Greece put together. Paul didn’t come to the city as a sightseer, but rather, as a soul winner. Paul entered the city with a burden for souls and a desire to see the name of Christ glorified. Therefore, when he entered the city, “his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry” (v. 16). Paul had such a jealousy for the glory of God, that he was provoked within himself when he saw the idolatry that filled the city. Paul was stirred up with righteous indignation as he looked around himself and saw spiritual blindness that had gripped the hearts of the people.
As we look around the American cultural landscape, we see a nation wholly given to idolatry. Sure, we don’t have statues of false gods as you would see in ancient Athens or a modern-day Hindu country. But the idols of money, self, pleasure, power, fame are being worshipped by millions. This ought to provoke us because Jesus Christ is not receiving His rightful place of worship. When anything or anyone other than Christ is worshipped, it ought to put a burning passion in our hearts to see His name magnified. Our hearts ought to be broken for the lost who are blinded by the ‘god of this world’ and are shackled by the chains of sin.
Paul was not only stirred by the idolatry. Paul declared the true God to these Athenians. Paul couldn’t keep silent. He did not allow himself to get used to the dark. Paul did not choose the easy path of tolerance. Rather, he loved Christ and loved others enough to deny self and share the truth with them.
As our culture continues to run headlong into depravity, we must not allow ourselves to get used to the dark. Rather, we must learn to be like Paul. We must be jealous for God’s glory and magnify His holy name!
~Pastor Aaron Francis