This week I have had the privilege of hanging out with a number of our young people for Magnitude (a Christian youth festival). We have had great fun laughing together, getting to know one another and thinking more about God’s call on our lives. It has been great to see joy on everyone’s faces, especially after the last year and a half.
“it’s ok to not be ok”?
The more time I spend with young people, the more aware I am of the constant pressures they face to conform to the ideas and ideals of the society and culture they find themselves in and the tension, trying to live authentically, creates with this. They hear phrases like “it’s ok to not be ok” as they flick through social media feeds of highly photo-shopped images, showing unobtainable bodies communicated as ‘the norm’. There are increasing pressures to ‘achieve’ what society has classed as desirable; to reach the top of any career, earning ‘the big bucks’, owning anything you may ever want and more, in and out of relationships as and when it suits, all whilst being the happiest person ever to walk the earth. There is constant temptation to distract from God’s leading and purpose for them.
And it is not just young people who face this. The world also screams at adults telling us what is ‘best’ or ‘the right things for us’. The media tells us what we should all want and how we all need to live our lives; and if we are totally honest with ourselves, there is temptation… temptation to acquire more and more stuff, to chase after more money and power, to choose what we have decided we want. Maybe we feel this all becoming too much and consider simply withdrawing from the society and culture so that we can stay faithful to God. It is almost as if we find ourselves choosing between presence in society or faithfulness to God.
But what would happen if we instead stayed faithfully present where we find ourselves?
The Book of Daniel
This week we are beginning a new series, looking at the start of the book of Daniel. Daniel was a young guy that found himself in a society full of temptation, pulling him to turn from being faithful to God; yet he chose faithfulness even whilst engaging with the society.
On Sunday we will take some time to look at Daniel chapter 1, but as you prepare for Sunday, why not take some time to ponder the following questions
- Do you find it easier to be faithful to how God wants us to live or to live driven by the ideals present to us by the society we find ourselves in?
- What might ‘faithful presence’ mean for Christians in Glasgow, in 2021?