So in The Road last week (two weeks ago, I guess), we talked about Paul's trip to Athens, and how he responded to the idolatry there. The suggestion was made that Paul was taken by surprise at what he encountered there, and the question was asked, "Do we let Athens win in our lives?" FWIW, here is my comment on that blog. Any thoughts?
I think Paul knew exactly what he was getting into. Unfortunately, in this day Christians have a tendency to remove ourselves from the world as much as we can instead of focusing on being salt and light where God has placed us. By this I mean, we live in "nice" neighbourhoods, only spend time with other Christians, keep the kids away from questionable influences, etc. Not all these things are bad, but there again, if I'm completely insulated from the world, where is my opportunity to influence it?
It is possible Paul had the same sheltered childhood that I had. Perhaps he only spent time with other Jewish boys who were destined to become Pharisees. I'm sure the early part of his adult life was spent in the company of other "holy" people. But that changed on the road to Damascus. After that, Paul rubbed shoulders with worldy people everywhere he went, spreading salt and light as he went.
(Wow, this is getting long.) After Athens, Paul went to Corinth, which as I understand it, was the immorality capital of the ancient world. Vegas + Amsterdam + a bit more immorality for good measure = Corinth, and that's the mission field that Paul spent 18 months in.
If we step into the world with eyes shut and naivete intact, then we will be taken by surprise, and Athens (or Corinth, or Vegas, or Lubbock) has a much better chance of winning. But if we go out knowing what we are facing, prepared with the Word, and secure that the Lord will direct our steps, then we can take Athens!