Resisting Our Culture is Spiritual Warfare

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”- James 4:7

The restoration of the principles and spirit of the early church will not come by purely material means, but by first, a transformation of self- a return to those principles on a personal level. We must learn how to resist Modernity ("the world" in biblical language) through living the Gospel and Apostolic Tradition. What follows are some guidelines to assist my reader in beginning to understand and live our faith in an increasingly anti-Christian and neo-pagan culture. It needs to be said, however, that our love of our Faith and Apostolic Tradition is not primarily inspired by any mundane reasoning, such as nostalgia for the “good ole' days”, or misguided political considerations, but springs forth naturally out of a love of God. For the Christian, love of God is defined as follows:

To love God is to self-sacrificially commitment oneself to delight in Him, to rejoice in serving Him, to desire continually to please Him, to seek one’s happiness in Him and His Kingdom, and to thirst day and night for a fuller enjoyment of Him.

The world knows none of these concepts. Indeed, the world would offer a twisted version of this definition. If we apply the same construct to the philosophy of the world it would read:

To love the self is to reject self-sacrifice and God, to eschew commitment to anything beyond material production and acquisition of goods, to serve the secular state, to desire continually more personal gain and indulgence, to seek one's happiness in libertarian decadence, and to thirst day and night for purely selfish and material desires.

Many Christians have been infected with this sort of thinking as a result of living in a society permeated with it. This is why we must tear the world out of our lives and strive to live the Gospel with just as much passion as the early Christians and martyrs.

Let us start with modesty. Mass media is filled with examples of immodesty, ranging from television programs that glorify immoral behavior, homosexuality, adultery and like abominations, to advertising that strips women of their created dignity by making them mere props in the world's incessant production of goods and services that serve to enslave the consumer, down to the disgusting level of outright pornography. Women are taught by such means that they are tools, objects of pleasure, with no other value than to acquire the things to make them more pleasing to the eye, which necessarily means more sexualized. Men are taught that these images of debauchery and depravity are the ideal for women, and if a woman does not meet these standards of “beauty”, then she is, in fact, ugly and plain, and therefore, not desirable. The Christian cannot be a part of this! Modesty is the first principle we must nurture in our lives and the lives of our children. Modesty is first a heart attitude and second an expression of that attitude in demeanor, deportment, and clothing.

Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, 10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.”-I Timothy 2:9

The word “modest”, used by Paul, means, “appropriate, proper, well arranged, put in order”. Note that it means “in order”. It is important to know that the Kingdom is order, while the world is disorder.

Proper clothing for a woman is modest, orderly, and discreet. We can define it this way: Modesty in dress is the application of an appropriate sense of order and discretion as one of the considerations that governs our choice of apparel. Discreetness of dress is the application of good judgment, moderation, self control and self respect.

This definition stands defiantly against that of the world, which views clothing in utilitarian terms, or as ornamentation for enticement to sin. Remember: Modesty is first a heart attitude, secondly, an expression of that attitude in demeanor, deportment, and clothing. That heart attitude is one of a sense of honor that would be ashamed to do an unworthy act and, therefore, keeps one from acting shamefully. It is a preventative kind of embarrassment, that precludes our doing something that would be judged inappropriate. The Christian adheres to the following principle regarding nakedness and modesty: Both in terms of exposure and accent, modest clothing conceals at the very minimum the body from the neck to the knee. When you buy clothing, what do you want emphasized? The Christian wants countenance to be emphasized. Countenance is the graciousness of the Lord that comes out in our face, eyes, and sound of our voices. We should be very careful to watch what we accentuate.

1. Elements of accentuation
2. Direction of the seams and neckline. 
3. Do the seam lines or neckline of the blouse direct the eyes to the breasts?
4. Do the seam lines of the skirt direct the eyes to the waist, to the groin?
5. Form & fit (tightness, where it’s tight).
6. Underwear visible through clothing
7. Type of material: shiny, silky, eye catching
8. All clothing, without exception, sends messages. 

What message is your clothing sending? In the culture of the world, acceptable lines of “modesty” have shrunk past the irreducible minimums established in God’s word, and thus, Apostolic Tradition. Much of what is considered “modest” by the world involves the exposure of nakedness according to Scripture. We should pay attention to what is modest in the church subcultures in which we move. Apostolic Tradition requires long sleeves for modesty, while some churches prefer it but do not require it. Most conservative Christians have a general sense that sleeveless attire (even if it meets the Biblical standard for not revealing the upper torso) is immodest. 

If your church culture is anything less than the Scriptural standard, you should work for change in that church by your personal choices and by teaching the correct principles. If those are rejected, find a fellowship where they are embraced. It is not illegitimate to expect Christians to observe Apostolic guidelines for modesty which go beyond the irreducible minimums required by Sacred Scripture. However, when teaching others these guidelines we must clearly identify our boundaries as Apostolic Tradition – sound ancient guides created for the sake of carefulness and encouragements to holiness. Our bodies are not our own, we have been bought with a price, therefore we are to glorify God in our bodies (1 Cor. 6:20).

Our love for God motivates our concern for His glory which in turn motivates us to dress in a God-glorifying manner. Further, our love for God motivates us to seek to please Him in everything we do. Since modest dress is God’s will for humanity, the Christian delights to dress in a way that pleases Him. As is always true, doing what pleases God is beneficial to others and thus, to our culture. Modest dress promotes pure minds and chaste living. In other words, holy hearts and lives. It reduces the opportunity the enemy has to attack others and our culture through the lusts of the flesh. It also serves as a testimony to the world that Christians are a holy people and that is what God requires of all men. (1 Thess. 4:6-8).

The “music” of the world can in no wise be said to possess any of the characteristics of a truly inspired composition. Music must meet the minimum criteria to be considered a legitimate work of art and expression of the human spirit under the influence of the Holy Spirit. These criteria are:

1.  The sound is ordered in time and space that is the result of creative intelligence,
2.  It involves an expression of meaning to another/other personal beings, and
3.  It is aesthetically beautiful.

These are the four minimum requirements. This is not to say they are the only requirements. True music can be more than this, but never less than this. Let us take a closer look at the key terms in these four criteria. Sound- In other words, true music cannot be silent. It must produce some sound.

Ordered- It must possess consciously identifiable organization.

Time- The beginning and end has measurable movement.

Space- It doesn't happen in the mind, but in the material world.

Creative Intelligence- It comes from personal beings with a self awareness.

Expression of Meaning- It must involve communication (in terms of feelings, moods, emotions, images, or ideas) to other personal beings.

Aesthetic- It must be objectively beautiful.

When considering the music of the world, we must look for not only these minimum criteria, but other, broader considerations, such as the influence of music on the consciousness and sub-conscious self. While music does not control one's behavior, it can certainly influence one's emotional state. It can suggest responses and actions. In this case of the music of the world, it most often influences to sin and discord.

Many Christians are ignorant of the proper way in which to view music. They think that the morality of music is determined only by its lyrics.

On the level of aesthetics, they have been influenced by Relativism enough that they believe beauty is a purely subjective concept, determined by the individual alone, so what is bad for you is good for him. Some will even suggest that, since God created all things-including music- then all forms of music are inherently good and of divine origin. By the same logic, God created paper and ink, and thus, since all that God created is good, pornography must be good as well. The fallacy of such logic is the presupposition that God is responsible for and approves of how humanity uses His creation.

Musical beauty is not in the eye of the beholder. The human ability to create and appreciate music and beauty are reflections of the image of God in us. Since it is a part of the image of God within us, we must look to God to regulate our values. In other words, our music must be in harmony with God's expression of beauty, which is ordered. The music of the world is, by these criteria, not aesthetic, and not ordered. It is discordant, screeching, and the lyrics promote the very values the Christian abhors. From where does the music of Modernity gain its sound and message?

The workmanship of your tabrets and of your pipes were prepared in you in the day that you were created.”- Ezekiel 28:13

This verse is speaking of the creation of Lucifer, who later became Satan. It appears to imply that Lucifer was created with an inherent musical ability, though I grant this is not a necessary conclusion. However, if we take this at face value, then we can readily conclude that, though music certainly promotes Cultural Marxism with all its attendant horrors, the ultimate source is Satan himself. This only makes sense, considering, as we have already noted, the world and its systems and philosophies is itself an occult mystery. One has only to examine the disharmony and disorderliness of the music of Modernity to find evidence of this. We find an even more blatant example in lyrics. For example, we find lyrics like these:

Pull your panties to the side so I can dig you out Cause I'm the old school pervert You know what I be all about” - Insane Clown Posse, Old School Pervert

These are the more clean lyrics of the song, most of which I could not publish without committing grave sin. We find even more blatant references to the source of the music of the world. For example, the realm of Death Metal music:

Homage for Satan, sworn to the devil Unholy master, destroy the heavens Homage for Satan, God cannot find you hell is your heaven Jesus ripped apart “- Deicide, Home for Satan

I dare say it can get no clearer than this. When choosing music we must choose that music which, first, glorifies God. Music glorifies God when it expresses aesthetic, beauty, order, and edifies the soul. It also glorifies God if it contributes to the beauty, health and sanctity of the culture. When we think of music in the traditional culture of Western Europe we naturally think of great composers like Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Brahms, Wagner, Schubert, Handel and Tchaikovsky. Theirs is music that reflects the image of God-glorifying Him in its aesthetic beauty and orderliness as it contributed to the overall beauty and sanctity of Western European culture.

I address these two particular issues-music and clothing- as these are two of the most prominent. There are many others that could be, and need be, addressed, but are not within the scope of this article. Suffice it to say you can look around you, with Scripture as your guide, and find areas where you can resist the world creeping into your life. I admonish you to resist and teach your children the principles of such resistance.