A Chameleon can change its colors to conform to its environment or to hide from its predators. Its various hues can also be a method of communicating anger (bright tints) or submission (darker tones). There are too many Christian Chameleons. Our environment is becoming more hostile and our predators are increasing. Many Christians are intimidated by the secular, anti-Christian mindset of our culture; so, they choose either to conform (to go along to get along) or to hide in a Christian ghetto and ignore the tension. Others simply display the bright colors of anger but do not know how to evaluate and address issues from a Christian worldview. The Christians that I am most concerned with, though, are those who do not even know that they are conforming. The socializing influences of our society have outpaced the sanctifying influences of the Church and the results are devastating.
We need to develop a strong Christian mind. We need to think like Christians, to reason from the Word of God as we address the issues of our day. Too many have swallowed the cultural lie that religion is personal and private and has nothing to do with public life. “Sunday can be yours,” they assure us, “but Monday through Saturday you must behave like a secular humanist. Keep your religious convictions to yourself!”
We have bought into a false distinction between sacred and secular life. This mindset tells us that our religious convictions are not true in any objective sense but merely warm, fuzzy, devotional thoughts that help us lessen our fear of the unknown. Such convictions, they say, may be privately helpful but are publicly harmful. In order to be accepted by a secular society, convictions must be scientific or based solely on human wisdom. Sadly, many in the church have accepted this line of faulty thinking; so, they conform to their environment and live in constant fear that what they believe isn’t really true. They live in two very different worlds and are uneasy in both of them.
Still, other Christians gather their convictions from the current cultural soup, secular education, Random House books, Hollywood movies, popular television shows and their really cool, but unbelieving, friends. They begin to conform to their environment and end up defending and even promoting clearly anti-Christian views.
How do we develop a strong Christian mind? “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8) A thirty-minute sermon cannot answer all the questions raised by a full-time immersion in our anti-Christian culture. We must put on the full armor of God! (Ephesians 6:11) We must review the true truth that God has given us. We must remember the truth as it is in Jesus and soak ourselves in gospel truth and biblical thinking. We must study to show ourselves approved! (2 Timothy 2:15) Christianity is a biblical way of looking at and evaluating all of life. “Godliness is profitable unto all things.” (1 Timothy 4:8, KJV)
Let me give some very practical advice to avoid Chameleon Christianity. 1) Carve out and defend regular time with God reading His Word. 2) Study Christianity. Read edifying books. Attend Sunday School and a regular Bible study. 3) If you have a question about the application of Christian thought to a particular issue, ask someone! 4) Seek out and maintain a discipleship relationship with an older, wiser Christian. 5) Commit yourself to Christian fellowship. Spend time with God’s people and learn from them. 6) Expose yourself to Biblical truth on a regular basis and make it your own. Embrace it. Understand it. Listen to sermons and lectures. 7) Fortify your heart and mind against the current deluge of cultural sewage. Almost everything that you watch or read in our culture is actively hostile to Christian convictions. Unless you have a discerning mind, this culture will make you its mental slave.
We are called to be salt and light in a dark and decaying world. (Matthew 5:13-16) We are to be a sanctifying influence in our culture. We are to offer the world another, a better option than the empty thinking of the fallen human mind. We are to think God’s thoughts after him and then speak those thoughts into a lost and dying culture. So do not conform to the culture or hide in a smaller, more comfortable, believing sub-culture; rather, engage the culture with the revealed truth of the Word of God. The world needs Jesus; let’s give them Jesus!