How are we to pursue holiness in this hideous world? Only your convictions know.
We passed the tipping point a long time ago, and that tipping point has thrust upward into a vast mountain. The gulf between our society and a fully biblical existence has only gotten wider. I’m not going to provide any concrete answers so much as help you ask the right questions. And the primary question is: What does God require of you in this context?
Viewed from another angle, it’s the question of what your faith can embrace. One of the covenant names of God is Yahweh Yireh: God our Provider. You know that God will provide everything necessary to obey Him and glorify Him, according to His declared purpose. Where do your convictions drive you? What will it take to find peace with God?
Biblical Law is not legislation; it is the Person of Jesus Christ, His living personal influence in your soul. More to the point, it is Christ living in you, speaking to you through your convictions. Because your conscious mind interfaces your convictions through the conscience, and that conscience is part of your mind, your initial thoughts on what is good and right will surely need some adjustment. The conscience is designed to transmit convictions, but it can be flawed by bad conditioning. It’s alive, not simply a piece of equipment. Knowing clearly what Jesus speaks in your heart is an ongoing project of refining your conscience to read your convictions rightly. Biblical Law is already carved into your soul by the divine Presence of the Holy Spirit, but it takes the rest of your human life to learn how to read it correctly.
So it’s a matter of assessing first your sense of divine calling. This, too, is in some ways a moving target. As the world continues to change, so do various elements in your mission. Your sense of mission must meet the world that is now, not the one that existed yesterday. But in order to meet those demands, you need as clear an assessment as possible of the hindrances to holiness. Not just what they are, you must assess what you can do about them.
If I could meet my mission without computers, I would do it. I know beyond all doubt that exposure to this electronic equipment is harmful to health in the long term. But so is eating any food I can buy in the store. Even breathing the air is harmful. The goal is not to preserve my life and health, but to use them as expendable assets for His glory within the context. I can’t clean the air, and there is no practical way to filter it, given the priorities assigned for me. In serving the Lord’s call on my life, I find myself in no position to grow my own food, nor can I afford to buy the purest and healthiest stuff in the current market. Besides, using computer equipment is a primary function of my mission.
So we learn to trust the Lord for His provision to make things work out in the balance. I do not worship some mythical physical purity of health and life. He can and does heal me of health issues over which I have no control. And sometimes He demonstrates His glory by how I live with things He does not heal. My faith knows the difference.
But it’s not just how we care for ourselves. On top of that, we are all shepherds in one way or another. The role of the shepherd is symbolic of God Himself, and it’s the symbol of how He works in each of our lives. It’s the symbol of how He uses us to touch the lives of others. It’s the fundamental model for all mission and calling. It might not be as obvious as being a parent shepherding children, but it’s the basic model of our interactions with humans.
Theoretical purity in raising your children would require a level of isolation that is virtually impossible to achieve. Everything in our society around us militates against that moral purity. Do your kids like cartoons? That means it’s already too late; they have been touched by evil. It’s not that every cartoon is inherently evil; a great many are quite morally harmless in themselves. However, it’s that conditioning that makes your kids receptive to the presentation of cartoons that makes them open to manipulation from malevolent forces. They have no natural filter against that moral evil surely to be slipped into almost every cartoon popular with kids today.
On top of that, it is impossible to make use of the technology itself without making rich the folks behind the industry. If you don’t know just how wicked that industry is, you really don’t know anything at all about this world. For example, let’s pick on Micky Mouse. I can safely say that not a single Mousketeer in the Disney program has escaped sexual abuse as a child, since it first began, up to today. When you consume any part of the Disney output, you are funding child sexual exploitation. And that’s just one of very many sins of Disney.
It’s popular in our Western activist culture to use that kind of reckoning to load you up with guilt. That’s a propaganda technique; it’s a lie. If you could escape the Devil Mouse, you should. But it’s not always possible. Disney has fingers in places you could not imagine; they have hundreds of secret front operations all over our culture. You cannot breathe the air without pulling in some wisps of the evil they have produced. The issue is not theoretical culpability, but whether the Holy Spirit afflicts you about it. And it’s very easy to get a false conscience that screams too loud for you to hear the Holy Spirit.
You cannot even come close to theoretical purity while living in this world. You cannot find any asset you might use to get more isolated, that hasn’t been touched by evil. So the issue is not whether you are stained by the evil of this world, because the very existence of a mortal fleshly body is in itself a moral stain that marks us all as deserving Hell. That’s the default for every human born: We justly deserve a short miserable life, a lingering painful death, and eternity in Hell. But by the miracle of God’s grace, He calls some of us out of the pit and raises us up to His glory.
And He intends to use us in the midst of an evil and incurable world. Part of the lie of “objective truth” is that some human or group of humans can use their fallen human capabilities to discern what is good, right and true. God’s Word says that’s not possible. Only He can know the truth, because He is the one who made all things. Creation itself resonates with His personal divine moral character. He’s the only one who can possibly know what is real. Our senses will lie to us, so that our reason cannot possibly build any valid model based on the only inputs it has.
The question then is to ask Him what He requires of you in this awful context. He speaks only through your heart.