How to live in the Christian and secular world.

Posted: July 4, 2014 in Thoughts on God
Tags: ,

Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. (Jeremiah 29:4-7 ESV)

It is very easy to adopt a “fortress mentality” while living in a broken world. We withdraw from the culture and community around us to guard ourselves and simply wait for Jesus to return or die and go to heaven. Some may adopt the mindset, “The culture is the cesspool of human sin, so we should just abandon it to its own ways and keep our children as far from it as possible.” Others say, “Things are predicted to get worse before the Lord comes back, so why seek the welfare of the city?”

In Jeremiah 29 the Hebrew people are battling a similar mindset to the “fortress mentality”. They’ve been taken captive by their enemies, and transplanted to the extremely pagan city of Babylon. They’ve been told by some of their prophets that in the very near future God will deliver them, so they should withdraw from the city around them and wait for God to return them to their homeland.

Jeremiah challenges them with a radically different attitude. Jeremiah wants the Hebrew people to realize that God has placed them in Babylon on purpose. He challenges them to…

  • Make homes in the city.
  • Get jobs in the city.
  • Grow their families in the city.
  • Do life in the city!

Oh yeah, and while they’re doing all that also “seek the welfare of the city.” Some translations say, “seek the peace and prosperity of the city.” While they’re being held captive in a pagan city, they’re supposed to “do life” in the city and be a blessing to the community around them. The same principle applies to us today.

God has placed us in our communities and culture on purpose. God has placed us where we are to seek the welfare of this city. We must recognize that our welfare is completely intertwined with the welfare of this larger community surrounding us.

Are you “doing life” in your community?
How can you intentionally seek the welfare of the community around you?

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