Thriving in a Babylon Culture

Tensions are high across racial, economic and political lines,

It’s not surprising that a cultural agenda centered on self would bring division…

I recently read Thriving in Babylon by Larry Osborne, Pastor of North Coast Church in San Diego’s North County. In his book, he states that Babylon is “a biblical metaphor for all that is wicked and evil.” Today, we live in a society that worships money, power and prestige as gods. Many people from various viewpoints recognize this in our culture. Some will own it and others say they want change, but it’s often merely a smokescreen. Among those who really want change, differing perspectives on how to accomplish it exist. Personally, I believe in God’s superior ability to govern, so I choose to do my best to follow His instructions.

The alternative has us continually adding laws to our established governments. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, California alone initiated 930 new laws in 2015 and 800 the year prior! How’s that working? Not so well, apparently — tensions are high across racial, economic and political lines. It’s not surprising that a cultural agenda centered on self would bring division.

Osborne’s book followed the life of Daniel who was captured as a young Hebrew boy and forced into the heart of a corrupt culture. Daniel knew who he was. He honored the king but ultimately answered to God. He wasn’t afraid of evil and faced it head on without acting foolishly. He had hope — not just wishful thinking but genuine expectation in the promises of God. And through his humility and thoughtful wisdom, he earned the respect of others. Daniel gained influence and succeeded in Babylon. Here’s how you can pursue similar success:

Plant roots: Daniel, even though taken against his will, learned the views of the culture and determined which battles were worth fighting and which were not. He settled in the land of his captors and lived confidently by his principles. Just because the challenges are great, it doesn’t mean you need to run away — the solution might just be the opposite. So don’t be rendered ineffective because of what you see around you, plant roots!

Be confident about the future: To counter the worship of money, power and prestige of our society today, we must live out the opposite — a humble, service-focused, loving, and confident life. And Osborne tells us in his book, that “no matter how bad things get, Daniel had it far worse.” So don’t be discouraged, we can truly be confident about our future believing that “the humble will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14). This promise can give great assurance in a time when humility is disparaged. We all fall completely short of true humility but God makes up our shortcomings with His grace. That is why submitting to Him, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, is the only real answer. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters…You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Matthew 6:24).

The goal of this column has always been to help you prosper financially with contentment, focusing on others rather than self. When we see our finances as a resource to do so, it increases our responsibility and opportunity. Money is not evil. Loving it is. So as you make money, do so with integrity while building others up instead of tearing them down. Grow it and share it and also share your wisdom so others can pass it along too. This domino effect can be a great contributor to change.

This book had an impact on me — it was truly a reality reset! I am confident that like Daniel we too can thrive in Babylon by living with hope, humility and wisdom…

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