Why does art have to be something vulgar, disturbing, and so cosmically opposing to the rest of the world? Why is “self-expression” seen as something that has to do with sex, drugs, or alcohol? Why can’t art be something beautiful, innocent, and pure?
Why am I here?
This last question is one I’ve been struggling with for the past couple of days. My classes require me to read books that have the above elements of sex, drugs, and alcohol within their pages, and, in order for me to be able to focus on God and on His will for me, I can’t fill my head and heart with those kinds of things. In fact, I have no desire to compromise the relationship I have with my God. Yet if I don’t read the books, I fail.
Also, the environment is just like the classroom content. The more opposing, disgusting, and vulgar you can be, the more friends you have; the more things you have to do; the less you’re an outcast. Why does the world have to be this way?
In news reports, personal articles, blogs, social networks, etc. it seems as if Christians are looked down upon for turning away their eyes at the sight of vulgarity or of what the world sees as coexistence or tolerance. There is a difference between tolerance and condonation. Christians are capable of tolerance, but condonation of things abhorrent to God is another matter entirely.
Paul says in Philippians chapter four, verse eight, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” How can we think about these things when, in a very in-your-face place like New York City, it seems as if everything around us screams exactly the opposite? How is it humanly possible to guard ourselves when all we have is a shield and no back protection with enemies closing in on all sides?
…we have to look for it.
Right now I am very discouraged, but I know for a fact that, because God’s Holy Spirit lives within me, there is ALWAYS good to be found even in the darkest of places. God’s goodness and love is “a light that may be a light when all other lights go out.” (yes, I made a Lord of the Rings reference; you’re welcome). If we are the light of the world, and God is the everlasting light, we should be able to hone the skill of finding light in perpetual darkness. Maybe it’s the physical light of the radiant sunshine pouring through your blinds in the morning. Maybe it’s the glow that emanates from the heart and eyes of a Christian friend. Maybe it’s the kindness of a stranger or the enthusiasm of a child. There is always light, if you would only look for it.
I am looking for it…I am desperately looking for it. When I find it (for I know that I will), I don’t doubt that this fuzziness and conflict that harbors in my brain will evaporate and my thoughts will be clear once again. Thankfully, I get to home today, with a five-hour train ride to decompress and talk to God and just chill. I’ll get to see my mother and many others who can encourage me in God’s way.
It’s so easy to give into the temptation of giving up, of just leaving all you know of God and honor and purity and going with the flow of the world. When you live for God, it’s a given that you will be going against the grain; everything God desires for us and commands us to do is the opposite of that of the world.
But, as we’re told in 1 Corinthians chapter ten, verse thirteen, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
This trip home is God’s way of escape for me. He timed it perfectly. Though my mother and I had planned on my coming home at least a month or two before I left for college, God had planned it long before I even sent in my application. He knew I would need this refresher…I am so glad He looks out for me.
So, when you do get to that place where you’re surrounded by vulgarity, secularity, and darkness, search out the light of God. I realize this sounds cheesy and cliche, but it’s what you have to do in order to win the spiritual war that exists between you and the Enemy. You have to look for an out; a shred of light, goodness, or purity that could only come from God.
Have faith that He will provide you with an escape, and it will be easier to find.