David gives us some good advice on how to navigate the minefield of living in a culture that is hostile to God in Psalm 4. These will not make it go away but will enable us to stand strong in the face of opposition. Be warned though that these principles run completely opposite of our natural human tendencies. Allowing ourselves to succumb to what comes naturally to us will only make things worse. Here's a snap-shot of how David handled it.
Voice your distress to God, not the world. (v. 1 - 3)
David went right to the only one who could do anything about the problem. We tend to try and deal directly with the source of the problem rather than the problem solver. This is the single, most important first step.
Don't respond to the world out of anger. (v. 4)
There are so many people lashing out at the world with hate and anger in the name of the Church. They are only making things worse for all of us. Yes, it is right to be angry about the things that are taking place in our culture today but it is not right to respond outside of Christ-like character. There was much that Jesus was angry about but he came to us with mercy and grace to show us a better way. We need to closely follow His example.
Before we point out the sin of our culture we must first make sure we deal with our own sin. (v. 5)
David tells us to offer right sacrifices. I have no right to demand that my neighbor change until I change first. We do more damage to the testimony of Christ by our hypocrisy. This is one reason why the world is becoming increasingly hostile to the Church. We can't expect the world to embrace our message if it is evident we haven't fully embraced it ourselves by the way we live. If our lifestyle doesn't match our message then we shouldn't be surprised if we face rejection.
Let God's goodness do the talking. (v. 6 - 7)
A more effective way of influencing our culture would be to show them God's goodness rather than trying to convince them of our own. Instead of trying to convince the world of how great we are we should be simply showing them how great God is.
Make God your sole source of security. (v. 8)
The world knows there is no security in what man has to offer. That is why it is desperately seeking for it in so many other places. Show them by our lifestyle that God is the only source of security. I love what Psalm 20:7 says: "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God." Our culture desperately needs to see that there is something that is absolutely trustworthy.
These five principles are the key to finding peace in the midst of a hostile culture because it takes the pressure off us having to prove something to the world by simply pointing them to God who is the only answer. The world doesn't need us, they need Him.
Get free updates from The Good Life in your inbox. Subscribe today!