Conforming to the Culture (Edward Bernays, Popular Culture, and Christian Worldliness)

Conforming to the Culture
Robert Wurtz II

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2 NKJV)



Our Greek word for “conformed” is syschēmatizō and it is in the present passive imperative with meœ, meaning “stop being fashioned or do not have the habit of being fashioned.” (A. T. Robertson) To fashion something is to make it after a similar pattern. In modern times we might say, don’t be a copy or a clone of this present evil world. Peter also wrote along this line, Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation. (1 Peter 1:13–15 KJV) The Greek word for “fashioning” in this passage is the same word translated as “conformed” in Romans 12:2. An easy deduction from this text is that obedient children do not fashion themselves like the world. Rather, we are called to be holy and to do that means we have to “stop being fashioned or do not have the habit of being fashioned” like this present evil world. In fact, it is the destiny of the saints to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29b NKJV)

Evidence of False Regeneration

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15–17 NKJV)

A person who loves the world is devoid of the love of God as the ruling principal of their life (Vincent). Therefore, one canot have had the love of God poured out into their heart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) if they are still loving this present evil world. One cannot be motivated by the love of God and love for the world at the same time. They are as different as light and darkness. Loving the world will accomplish the aims of the god of this present evil world. (2 Cor. 4:4) The love of God will compel us to do the will of the One True God. (2 Cor. 5:14) Again, this is what Paul said, 
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. A person who conforms to this present evil world is proving the will of Satan — not God. This is common sense.

Contemporary Expressions of an Ancient World System

Every culture, past or present, no matter how uniquely it is expressed, is still an expression of the spirit of this age (the spirit of antichrist). From the many splendorous cultures of India and China to the Native American Indians or the Muslim’s in Sudan. From Ancient Egypt and Babylon to modern New York City and Dubai. Each culture is a microcosm of this present evil world — no matter how differently it expresses itself from the rest. They are moving in the same spirit of antichrist. The primary difference rests on each cultures ability to pursue the triune vanities John listed in 1 John 2:15-17 (power/popularity, pleasure, and possessions). Some cultures are very poor and lack the means to fill to the full the will of the god of this present evil world. Some cultures struggle for mere survival; but even there the world exists however it may appear to be diminished.


The god of Popular Culture     

If we were to travel back 100 years we would be shocked at how different things were compared to today. I believe that if we could transport some men of God from the time of John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Finney, D.L. Moody or Charles Spurgeon to observe our culture (and how many professing Christians are conforming to it) they would be mortified. And the problem is growing by the day. Many professing Christians have no higher standards than the average sinner. Keep in mind that many of the common behaviors and deeds of people today would get a person locked up 60 years ago. It won’t be long and Marijuana will be legal in all 50 states. Then other drugs will follow. And we have only begun to loosen standards on sexual immorality. I suggest that behaviors that are a crime today will be celebrated in 20 years. 


If you or I are the type of person who adjusts their standards of holiness to whatever popular culture is doing there is a strong chance that we are not saved. There is no sense in lying about it. Things are way too far off course to put the blinders on. Worldly people need to be told they are not serving the One True God — they are serving the god of this world. We need the clear-cut language of John the Apostle: If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. If you or I love the world we will share this present evil world’s fate. If you are telling yourself you are right with God because you come to a meeting, raise your hands, sing a song and feel goosebumps — those bumps are 99.9% probably not the Holy Spirit. They are a spirit, just not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not at home in the life of a person who is in love with this present evil world. The devil is expert at manufacturing goosebumps.  


For the vast majority of people living in the Western World, theirs is a culture containing within itself a “popular culture.” This system is such a finely tuned machine that it makes 1 John 2:15-17 sound almost like a prophecy. In fact, I believe it is a faithful saying that the culture that America experiences today is the greatest expression of this present evil world to date. In other words, “the world has never been as “worldly” as it is at this present hour.” There has never been a time, at least since the biblical flood, that the world has had the resources and technology to express it’s rebellion against God as it does today. Our modern culture is an exaggerated version of anything the world has ever produced. Again, our culture is so radically different than it was just 100 years ago that the people of 1800s could not relate to the 2000s. 

Today all kinds of things that were considerd illegal or taboo in previous generations have been normalized. In the 21st century there is so much money to be made on sin that the only thing that seems to be taboo today is to speak against the compromise going on. Think of how just 50 years ago it was illegal to gamble in most cities except “sin city” (Las Vegas). Ultimate fighting was a crime relegated to to empty warehouses — much like dog fighting and cock fighting is today. Abortion was illegal 60 years ago, now abortionists are selling whole dead babies to researchers for profit. Fornication used to be taboo — now it’s practically a sport! 

A soon to be reality show lauds a woman going to lose her virginity on TV. Forty years ago tattoos were taboo in so much that mainly soldiers, bikers, and convicted felons had them. Now parents will sign for their teen-aged children to have them. In fact, there was a time when it was taboo for women to smoke. Now they die of smoking at about the same rate as men. Same with the taboo of women and tattoos. That taboo was broken in the last 20 years and women have them as often as men nearly. Just as teens used to smoke in the boys room — now they permanently mark up their bodies. The time would fail to list all the examples. We must digress. Yet how did the world succeed in breaking all these taboos? How has the world normalized so… much… sin? How could this happen? You really want to know? Keep reading. 

Sin as an Industry


When the industrial revolution came about, the world became mechanized. Companies learned how to produce goods and mine resources on an industrial scale. At the same time bankers and economists were figuring out ways to finance the purchase of all these goods we were producing. Soon there were plenty of products and a means to borrow money, but there was no demand. The reason for this is that our culture in the late 1800s was a needs based culture. The average worker only bought things they had to have for survival. The rich bought all kinds of luxury goods, but “John Q Citizen” did not. Products were even advertised in newspapers on the basis of need. The emphasis was on quality. “Goods like shoes, stockings, even cars were promoted in functional terms, for their durability. The aim of the advertisements were simply to show people the products practical virtues, nothing more.” (A. Curtis)


A Radical Cultural Shift

Corporations wanted to sell good and bankers wanted to lend money. What happened? “One leading Wall Street banker, Paul Mazer of Leahman Brothers was clear about what was necessary. e must shift America, he wrote, from a needs, to a desires culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things even before the old had been entirely consumed. We must shape a new mentality in America. Man’s desires must overshadow his needs. And the man who would be at the center of changing that mentality for the corporations, was Edward Bernays.” (A. Curtis) 

Over 100 years ago men like Edward Bernay’s began employing psychoanalysts and public relations experts to change the mentality of the American consumer. He also began using focus groups to figure out how to break through peoples’ inhibitions. In a short period of time they figured out how to exploit the lust of the flesh (possessions), the lust of the eyes (pleasures), and the pride of life (power and popularity) until living for selfish ambition and pleasure came to dominate our culture. In fact, these things became peoples primary reason for being and reason for living. This is the culture we live in. It is the fullest expression of man’s attempt to marginalize and replace the Creator to date.

The consumerist machine pumps out propaganda and products at a dizzying pace — sapping up every sale it can get. the world says, “Covet, and get possessions; lust, and indulge in immoral acts; envy, and climb the ladder of popularity and power!” This is the message of our times. This is the mind of the average citizen. In fact, these things are so entrenched into our culture and paradigm that it takes God’s word through the Holy Spirit to point out their influence in our lives. The whole essence of our culture militates against the God. Leonard Ravenhill once said, Paul says that’s what the world is to me; It’s a system of corruption and rottenness and vileness. It’s anti-Christ from the word go!… Is the world crucified to you tonight? Or does is fascinate you?” In Paul’s own words:

But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.   And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. (Galatians 6:14–16 NKJV) 

Paul was dead to the world and the world was dead to him. Dead people don’t respond to stimulus. They don’t respond to anything. He was moved and compelled by the love of God — not love for this present evil world. 

Red Rider (Armageddon)

Red Rider
The Road To Armageddon Revisited

Robert Wurtz II

When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. (Revelation 6:3–4 NKJV)



Only God knows what events He had in mind when He inspired these verses. Nevertheless, with each passing day, the thirst for violence among the masses is growing. This is exactly what we should expect. Scripture teaches us clearly that human nature has been corrupted with the nature of Satan — who was himself filled with violence and subsequently cast out of Heaven (Ezekiel 28:16). The Psalmist gives precious insight into why God banished Satan and his followers in Psalm 11:5: “The LORD tests the righteous, But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates.” The great Old Testament scholars Keil and Delitzsch pass this comment, “He hates him with all the energy of His perfectly and essentially holy nature) the evil-doer and him that delights in the violence of the strong towards the weak. And the more intense this hatred, the more fearful will be the judgments in which it bursts forth.


Satan infected the human race with his violent evil nature when he beguiled Eve in the Garden and Adam took of the Tree. By one man Sin entered the world and death by Sin. The first evidence of this was Cain killing his brother Abel in cold blood. By the time we get to Genesis 6 the whole earth is filled with violence. People had become worse than animals viewing their neighbor as their next victim. The animal stalks his food for prey, but the violent terrorize for sport. Therefore we look for the day when violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise. The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended. (Isaiah 60:18–20 ESV) 


Even a Prophet of Their Own

Is God the only one to explain the violence of fallen man? After years of studying human behavior In the early 1900s, Sigmund Freud put forward what many believed was a new theory about human nature. Through his experiments in Psychoanalysis, he discovered  that human beings have aggressive, violent and sexual forces that are lying just below man’s consciousness — waiting to be unleashed. Through his examination of dreams and free association, he came to believe that man was a violent creature. These findings were so pointed that they led him to dislike human beings. In fact, he wrote:

“Men are not gentle creatures, who want to be loved, who at the most can defend themselves if they are attacked; they are, on the contrary, creatures among whose instinctual endowments is to be reckoned a powerful share of aggressiveness. As a result, their neighbor is for them not only a potential helper or sexual object, but also someone who tempts them to satisfy their aggressiveness on him, to exploit his capacity for work without compensation, to use him sexually without his consent, to seize his possessions, to humiliate him, to cause him pain, to torture and to kill him. Homo homini lupus [man is wolf to man]. Who in the face of all his experience of life and of history, will have the courage to dispute this assertion? As a rule this cruel aggressiveness waits for some provocation or puts itself at the service of some other purpose, whose goal might also have been reached by milder measures. In circumstances that are favorable to it, when the mental counter-forces which ordinarily inhibit it are out of action, it also manifests itself spontaneously and reveals man as a savage beast to whom consideration towards his own kind is something alien.” (Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents, trans. and ed., James Strachey; New York: W. W. Norton, 1961, p. 58)

Nevertheless, Jesus had a more succinct description of man in his fallen state, You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:44) John elaborates on this fact in 1 John 3 when he writes, “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”

(1 John 3:8 NKJV) and again, “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.” (1 John 3:10 NKJV) This is the real situation fallen man must reckon with. The so-called primitive aggressive forces under the surface that Sigmund Freud discovered are actually the spirit of Satan himself that now works in the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:1-3). In fact, he was so convinced of this diabolic nature that he was not surprised by the blood bath of WWI and WWII. He said we ought to have expected it based on his findings in Psychoanalysis.  

A Temporary “Fix”

In ancient times governments often controlled the people with an iron fist. This is how they kept the peace. They would smash oppositions and uprisings. God gave governments the awesome responsibility to maintain order in society. In Paul’s words, “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.” (Romans 13:3–4 NKJV) Consider the fact that the original recipients of this letter had been under Caligula (37- 40CE), Claudius (41 – 54CE), and presently Nero. These leaders were deadly men. Nevertheless, a bad government is better than none. We have learned this dreadful lesson in modern times more than once.  


In the early 1900s, democratic governments sought for a way to control what they called ” the dangerous crowd. ” That is, people that assemble to act violently and destructively — putting the stability and safety of the whole society at risk. Again, totalitarian governments rule with an iron fist typically, and squash such uprisings by force. But how can these people be dealt with in democratic governments where the people have the right to assemble, right to protest, etc. when they get out of control? Hence, a slogan came to be used that we must “make the world safe for democracy.” How would they do it? 

A strategy was devised that would channel man’s aggressiveness towards something non-destructive. Many inventions were being developed; manufacturing techniques were improving; and money was made available through fractional lending. So, we entered the era of consumptionism. People spent their energy working to buy the latest clothes, the newest car, the larger home and the coolest gadgets. Many people find their identity in this “competition.” Instead of fighting one another in the streets, the masses head to work each day having beaten their swords into plowshares. Instead to castles they buy large homes. In place of tanks and artillery batteries they employ SUV’s and ATV’s. Rather than dress blues they don the finest designer clothing. Here we find their rank, weaponry, and the spoils of war. Status is the goal of life. How does it work? Exalt yourself by the things you possess. 

From a Biblical standpoint, the powers exploited are the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. Why? To keep man happy and docile. By creating an atmosphere of “discontentment” people would work their whole lives chasing the wind — burning off all that aggressive and violent energy. In other words, this served to keep people from rioting in the streets. This is an oversimplification of the subject, but we must digress.

The First Box of Cigars

Edward Bernays was front and center in this process. He is the father of public relations and to a large degree popular culture (POP Culture). His uncle was Sigmund Freud. Bernays sent Freud a box of Havanna cigars in exchange for a copy of his book on Psychoanalysis. He then employed Freud’s findings to help corporations transform our culture from “needs” based to “desires” based. People began buying products they did not need. The poor began behaving like the wealthy. This worked for the government, because they were working to “make the world safe for democracy.” People were too busy to riot and vandalize.

The Failure of Selfish Discontent

For nearly a hundred years this man made scheme has been somewhat effective. We have had wars to contend with, but our streets have been relatively calm (with the exception of a few race riots over the years). However, when the economy plunged in 2008 and the handheld device became the primary focus of young peoples’ lives, the door started coming open again. Few young people aspire to the things their parents and grandparents did. Their values are different. The crowd is growing more and more dangerous everyday. Therefore, I came up with some statements to describe this phenomena:

Worldliness + dis-contentment = docile

Worldliness + contentment = a dangerous crowd


Godliness + contentment = mega profit

When Edward Bernays worked to help manufacture a state of discontentment within society, it only served as a temporary distraction. In fact, it only ever worked on people who bought into the system and were willing and able to put forth the efforts to experience it. That leaves out a great many people in the 21st century. Theirs is a mind of worldliness + contentment, a dangerous combination. That is not to say that worldliness + discontentment is the right thing. It is not. It is simply what has been used to a decent effect for controlling mass violence within society. 

What do you do with people who only seem to care about having food and a phone? Their identity is made up not in the things they possess materially or the achievements they make, in reality, but in the status they achieve virtually. Nobody has the answer. This is why we are setting atop a powder keg right now. People are casting off all restraint. The liberals are succeeding in undoing over 2000 years of Christian influence — leaving society to the full fury of what Sigmund Freud called “aggressive, violent and sexual forces that are lying just below man’s consciousness — waiting to be unleashed.” They wanted free from the constraints of God’s laws and they are getting what they asked for. Now they will shudder in fear to go out of their houses at night. This is the consequence of lawlessness. The house of cards is coming down. Perhaps we should start answering the haters of God as did the prophet Micaiah when he replied, “You’ll see how when the day comes that you run away to hide yourself in a closet!” (1 Kings 22:25)

The Weapon of Influence

The Weapon of Influence
Robert Wurtz II

“These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” (1 John 2:26–27 KJV)

“From our leaders and the media they use to reach the public, we accept the evidence and the demarcation of issues bearing upon public questions; from some ethical teacher, be it a minister, a favorite essayist, or merely prevailing opinion, we accept a standardized code of social conduct to which we conform most of the time.” (Edward Bernays, Propaganda, 1928)


One of the ways the enemy destroys vast numbers of people, is to lead them into error through the influence of persons they have come to like, love, or admire. Once a relationship is established, and a person has someone “in their hip pocket,” they may convince them that almost anything is true. That is the subtle power of relationships. This is especially true for people who tend to follow the crowd. 




The enemy knows that relationships are one of the greatest means of controlling a persons’ beliefs. If he can use a relationship to influence someone else, a domino effect can take place in which an entire progeny is put at risk. Take a young man or woman for example. They may have grown up with a group of people who subscribed to set of values “A” and then met someone else who captured their heart and turned them to set of values “B.” The relationship broke down the door of the persons’ reason, and overthrew their upbringing. Whereas their parents spent their entire life raising them to serve God, now the relationship trumps everything. This is why God warned Israel not to become involved with the idolatrous nations. 

Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the LORD will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly. But thus you shall deal with them: you shall destroy their altars, and break down their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images, and burn their carved images with fire. (Deuteronomy 7:3–5 NKJV)


Notice that the passage says the daughters of the idolaters will turn your sons away from following Me. This may be the Old Covenant, but there is a principal here that is timeless. Relationships have the power to completely overthrow a persons’ belief system. In fact, they can turn a person completely away from the One True God to false gods. 


Charmed to Deception

Have you ever noticed how when a person is “likable” they can nearly get by with murder; but if they are “unlikable” they can do no right? Take politicians, for example. Since the dawn of pictures and sound, men have been able to sell themselves as “likable” characters. The word is “charm.” If they can find a way to come-off on the radio and in the news as “charming,” they get more votes. If they can get you to like them or admire them, they can control you (at least in the voting booth). Modern media has allowed people to market themselves to the highest percentage of voters. This is why politicians are charged with lying and being fake. They are playing to the largest number of people in an audience. This is exactly what Edward Bernays was referring to in the quote above. 

Former president the late Richard Nixon once advised a comrade on how to win the vote of the people. His surprising answer? “Lose twenty pounds.” We may ask, “Are people really that shallow?” Unfortunately, many are. They are seduced into thinking a certain way by people who know how to manipulate them. If they can appeal to someones unconscious desires, they can control their decision making; they can take advantage of the person.

How Not To Win Friends 

Have you ever wondered why some people never take a stand on difficult subjects? Often it’s because they want everybody to like them. They are too concerned about building up appearances to allow some important or controversial subject to tarnish their glow. Jesus was never concerned about His “image” and “reputation.” He was no deceiver. His approach to winning men and women was to tell them the truth and allow their conscience to do the work. He never solicited or moved in ulterior motives. He did not manipulate a “yes” from people. In fact, He went to great lengths to test a person’s “yes” before He would believe them. 

Duped By Deceivers

John writes, These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. The enemy was working in the churches, through people, to lead the saints astray. Think about how many have used their “smooth words and flattering speech to deceive the hearts of the simple.” (Romans 16:18b NKJV) They sport their charm and other carnal means to achieve their own ends. All the while the true men and women of God are marginalized. 

I recall an old western song that depicts a woman at home alone when a knock comes to the door. “Lord it’s the Devil,” She exclaims, “Would you look at him? I heard about him, but I never dreamed… He would have blue eyes and blue jeans.” This witness is true. This is the power of charm. This is the power of seduction. Multitudes are seduced by the devil every day. He comes dressed as an angel of light and lures away scores of unsuspecting — undiscerning people. Never mind what his values are, look at him! Can’t you see how beautiful he is? Listen to him, can’t you hear how charming he is?

The apostles were forever dealing with these type of people who tried to come in and seduce the saints. People would make fun of the way Paul looked and spoke — favoring those who better looked and talked the part. What did he say?

“But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power.” (1 Corinthians 4:19 NKJV)


While the masses are swooning after those who come dressed as angels of light, Paul said he would discern the power they were moving in. This is key. Does the words the person speaks resonate in the conscience? Is the Holy Spirit backing the message? This was Paul’s concern. there are a lot of smooth talkers in the world, but there are few who are speaking for God. 





The Road to Armageddon

The Road to Armageddon
Robert Wurtz II

For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. (Revelation 16:14-16)

In the early 1900s Sigmund Freud put forward what many believed was a new theory about human nature. Through his experiments in Psychoanalysis, he had discovered that human beings have aggressive, violent and sexual forces that are lying just below man’s consciousness — waiting to be unleashed. Through his examination of dreams and free association, he came to believe that man was a violent creature. In fact he wrote:

“Men are not gentle creatures, who want to be loved, who at the most can defend themselves if they are attacked; they are, on the contrary, creatures among whose instinctual endowments is to be reckoned a powerful share of aggressiveness. As a result, their neighbor is for them not only a potential helper or sexual object, but also someone who tempts them to satisfy their aggressiveness on him, to exploit his capacity for work without compensation, to use him sexually without his consent, to seize his possessions, to humiliate him, to cause him pain, to torture and to kill him. Homo homini lupus [man is wolf to man]. Who in the face of all his experience of life and of history, will have the courage to dispute this assertion? As a rule this cruel aggressiveness waits for some provocation or puts itself at the service of some other purpose, whose goal might also have been reached by milder measures. In circumstances that are favorable to it, when the mental counter-forces which ordinarily inhibit it are out of action, it also manifests itself spontaneously  and reveals man as a savage beast to whom consideration towards his own kind is something alien.” (Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents, trans. and ed., James Strachey; New York: W. W. Norton, 1961, p. 58)

Had we lived contemporary with Freud, we may have congratulated him on his discovery of the Adamic nature. He is late to the party by several thousand years, but better late than never. As the old time preacher would have said it, “he was slow but worth waiting on.” Nevertheless, Jesus had a more succinct description of man in his fallen state, You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:44) This is the real situation fallen man must reckon with. The primitive aggressive forces under the surface are actually the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:1-3). 

A Temporary “Fix”

In the early 1900s democratic governments sought for a way to control what they called “the dangerous crowd.” That is, people that assemble to act violently and destructively — putting the stability and safety of the whole society at risk. Totalitarian governments rule with an iron fist typically, and squash such uprisings by force. But how can these people be dealt with in democratic governments where the people have the right to assemble, right to protest, etc. when they get out of control? Hence, a slogan came to be used that we must “make the world safe for democracy.” How would they do it?

A strategy was devised that would channel man’s aggressiveness towards something non-destructive. Many inventions were being developed; manufacturing techniques were improving; and money was made available through fractional lending. So, we entered the era of consumptionism. People spent their energy working to buy the latest clothes, the newest car, the larger home and the coolest gadgets. Many people found their identity in this “competition” and status was the goal of life. Exalt yourself by the things you possess. From a Biblical standpoint, the powers that be learned to exploit the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life in order to keep man happy and docile. By creating an atmosphere of “discontentment” people would work their whole lives chasing the wind. This served to keep them from rioting in the streets. This is an oversimplification of the subject, but this is a blog entry so we must digress. 

The First Box of Cigars

Edward Bernays was front and center in this process. He is the father of public relations and to a large degree popular culture (POP Culture). His uncle was Sigmund Freud. Bernays sent Freud a box of Havanna cigars in exchange for a copy of his book on Psychoanalysis. He then employed Freud’s findings to help corporations transform our culture from “needs” based to “desires” based. People began buying products they did not need. The poor began behaving like the wealthy. This worked for the government, because they were working to “make the world safe for democracy.” People were too busy to riot and vandalize. 

The Failure of Selfish Discontent

For nearly a hundred years this man made scheme has been somewhat effective. We have had wars to contend with, but our streets have been relatively calm (with the exception of a few race riots over the years). However, when the economy plunged in 2008 and the handheld device became the primary focus of young peoples’ lives, the door started coming open again. Few young people aspire to the things their parents and grandparents did. Their values are different.  The crowd is growing more and more dangerous everyday. Therefore, I came up with some statements to describe this phenomena:

Worldliness + dis-contentment = docile

Worldliness + contentment = a dangerous crowd


When Edward Bernays worked to help manufacture a state of discontentment within society, it only served as a temporary distraction. In fact, it only ever worked on people who bought into the system and were willing and able to put forth the efforts to experience it. That leaves out a great many people in the 21st century. Theirs is a mind of worldliness + contentment, a dangerous combination. That is not to say that worldliness + discontentment is the right thing. It is not. It is simply what has been used to a decent effect for controlling mass violence within society. 

A Second Box of Cigars

At the time of this writing the Missouri National Guard has been called in to handle rioting in Furgason, MO. An 18 year old African American man was shot multiple times by a police officer. This set off multiple rounds of both peaceful and violent riots. The situation appears to be deteriorating. The irony of this situation is that the young man was alleged to have strong arm robbed a convenience store owner of a box of cigars before his confrontation with police. A thousand nay-sayers will probably break out in a chorus of hilarious laughter and scorn; but could it be that this event in Furgason has signaled the end of man’s attempt to “make the world safe for Democracy” by manufacturing a state of discontent within society? Governments are losing control of the people. Police are arming themselves with military style equipment. It seems we are on the brink of Armageddon. 

God’s Solution

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content (1 Timothy 6:6-8)

Godliness + contentment = great gain  

As we have seen, contentment alone will do nothing more than undo man’s scheme to control society. We must have godliness with contentment. This can only be accomplished by being born again of the Holy Spirit. When people have the nature of God — there are no “aggressive violent and sexual forces that are lying just below man’s consciousness — waiting to be unleashed.” The cross deals with them when we are baptized by the Holy Spirit into Jesus Christ (the last Adam). We become partakers of the Divine nature. Our personality yields the fruit of love, joy, and peace. We are moved by compassion and in gentleness. This is our only hope. We are living in the last days. May we ever be faithful to point to the true solution for this crisis hour. 







  

Dealing With Lust

Dealing With Lust
Robert Wurtz II

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your lusts that war in your members?”  You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts. (James 4:1-3)

It is hard to read the words of James chapter 4 without wondering how a person could know Christ and act in this way. Some have even suggested that James’ words belong to the interim period between the Gospels and the Book of Acts. It is just so contradictory to suggest that a true Christian could deal with what James is writing about. What can we make of these things?

Humanness

It is helpful to remember that though a man or woman may be in Christ, they are still a man or a woman. It is our humanness and not to be confused with sinfulness. We are still programmed with the natural human desires that God deemed necessary for man to accomplish His purposes on the earth. For example, God gave Adam a command to be fruitful and multiply and a desire to accomplish the task. He gave Adam dominion over the earth and a desire to accomplish the task. Adam was created with a desire for knowledge and creativity. As descendants from Adam we all have a natural desire to eat, drink, sleep, etc. God gave Adam numerous natural desires and emotions – all of which He declared to be good. Adam had these good, natural desires, but He did not substitute any of them for His most important desire — a relationship with his Creator. 

When Adam fell in the Garden, the relationship that he once had with God was cut off. From that point forward he and his children would be subject to Sin. If we fast-forward to the day of Pentecost we know that for those who are in Christ, Sin has been dealt with. Nevertheless, we still have the ancestral characteristics of the first Adam – prior to his fall. That is, all of those natural desires that God designed into man. 

What is Temptation?

Temptation has been described as an appeal to the intellect to fulfill a good natural desire in a wrong way. This is true most of the time. We have good natural desires and needs, but the enemy comes along or the world comes along and solicits our participation in wrongly fulfilling those desires. For example,  Our inward, human desire for marital relations and physical affection are natural, God-given, and good; however, they do not discriminate. This is why we can feel an attraction towards a person that does not belong to us. It is a natural desire, but that desire must be made subject to the parameters God has established. If we feed this natural desire it can become a lust that draws us away after the object the lust is fixed on. We have to consciously make sure that our human desires are properly guided. This is where God’s word comes in. We have God given desires and God given instructions on how those desires are to be fulfilled.




Unnatural Lusts

 Sometimes Christians allow their natural desires to take control of them. In fact, they feed their natural desires until the become unnatural lusts. This type of lust is a power that will try to control us and even seem out-of-control. We have to be careful. Our natural desires, if fed into an unnatural lust, will begin to war inside of us against the desires of the Spirit. The war will begin within and will manifest ultimately in a host of other problems that are symptomatic of the lust problem. Keep in mind that covetousness is also a form of lust. James asked, “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your lusts that war in your members?”  You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have…” It is natural to desire the things God created in us; however, the only way they will stay in balance is if we maintain our walk with Christ. If He is our primary desire and He is where we find our fulfillment, all these other things will typically stay in balance. However, what happens when we seek fulfillment in natural desires? Can natural desires replace our need for a relationship with our Creator?

Burning… But for What?

Have you ever noticed how people that buy products are called consumers? Why? Because we live in an age where the consumer is the most important person in society. Without the consumer our economy grinds to a halt. So it is in the interest of this present evil world to create an environment of discontentment so that people will keep consuming products. 

Our culture is a consumer based culture where products are used to bring happiness (fulfillment). This paradigm is at war with the kingdom of God where the Saints find their fulfillment in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, if a Saint is enticed to begin finding their fulfillment in the things of this world, the natural desire that they choose to find that fulfillment in will become an unnatural lust. Like a fire that is fed by kindling, so is the natural desire inflamed by feed it. 

Pick Your Poison

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15–17 NKJV)

The Western World with its present popular culture is such a finely tuned machine that it makes 1 John 2:15-17 sound almost like a prophecy. Over 100 years ago Psychoanalysts and Public Relations experts began using focus groups to figure out how to break through peoples’ inhibitions. They figured out how to exploit the lust of the flesh (possessions), the lust of the eyes (pleasures), and the pride of life (power and popularity) until living for selfish ambition and pleasure came in vogue. In fact, it became man’s reason for being and reason for living. The consumerist machine pumps out propaganda and products at a dizzying pace — sapping up every sale it can get. the world says, “Covet, and get possessions; lust, and indulge in immoral acts; envy, and climb the ladder of popularity and power!” 

All of these attitudes are blatantly anti-Christ. Nevertheless, when a Saint begins to wax cold in their relationship with God they are subject to falling into the trap that James speaks of. Lusts of all kinds will bring wars into our lives, into our homes, and into our churches. Perhaps you noticed that the more a person lusts for the things of this world the less they love God and others? Perhaps we should say it the other way. Regardless, we have to know that lusts of various kinds usually start out as the same God-given good thing it was intended to be; but when it is stoked and fed it begins to consume. 

Dealing With Lust

When our love and desire shifts from God to the things of this present evil world — the battle is on. To seek fulfillment in possessions, pleasures, power and popularity is the epitome of a Satanic paradigm. And for all that they leave the person unfulfilled. Why? Because lust is something that can never be fulfilled. The more you feed it the more it wants. If we are in this pattern we must repent and turn from the ways and pleasures of the world and turn back to Christ. We must take the desire that we gave to other things and give them back to God. We have to see and understand what is happening to us. You are human and you live in a fallen world. 



Obsession with Competition (revisited 2012)

Obsession with Competition (revisited)
First published June 11, 2009. 

Robert Wurtz II

Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. (Romans 12:15)

Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)


Romans 12:15 tells us to rejoice with them that do rejoice. This means we are to be happy for people when they are blessed in some way. This runs counter to modern popular culture. When was the last time you know of a person rejoicing with their neighbor when they came home blessed in a way that positioned the person on a higher economic or social plane? What about a ball game? When was the last time you saw a team get excited for the team that just beat them in the championship? Understand that the reason you don’t see this very often if ever is because the world is moving in the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life (pleasure, possessions and popularity). Anything that contributes to that end is regarded as good by the world; but anything that pushes a person down in any of those areas is regarded as a bad thing. So when the neighbor gets a promotion and a new company car, etc., it is hard for a fellow laborer in this present world to rejoice with them. Why? Because they are competing with each other on these three levels. This is why Christians are told in Romans 12:1-2 not to be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. If we think like the world we will never, rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. (Romans 12:15) Why? because it is unnatural to be happy or sad for your competition. 

Battle in the Workplace


Every day in the West men and women get in their cars and go to ‘battle’. They go to battle on as many fronts as 24 hours in a day will allow for. The key behavior being this incessant desire to compete and be the victor. Many almost obsessively desire to reign in their circles as the man or woman with the nicest house, coolest car, most expensive and trendy clothes and jewelry, largest bass boat, nicest lawn, coolest motorcycle, latest Ipad, smart phone, nicest indoor furniture, patio furniture, grill, stainless steel appliances, digital front loader washer and dryer, 75 inch plasma or LCD 3D TV, Dolby surround sound stereo system, and any other gadget known to man that has the capability of ‘scoring’ high points in this battle. Anything a person can possibly use as leverage in this war is fair game. And these are just the material things. How many people have abused coworkers to gain favor with the boss? How many politicians have lied and kissed babies to go from a nobody to the mayor, governor or president? Teenagers and young adults mock themselves to scorn on programs like X-Factor or American Idol for a shot at being popular. The obsessions border on the occult at times. Who would want to be an ‘idol’ anyway? Many people work their whole lives looking for the most effective ways of exalting themselves over their neighbor. Again, how can we rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep (Romans 12:15) if we are moving in this worldly paradigm? 

Training the Kids to Fight


While the parents are fighting their neighbors on these fronts the kids are fighting their friends in the streets for bragging rights on who has the coolest car, loudest boom box, newest rims, fastest engine, coolest clothing, tattoos, piercings, best fade away jump shot, fastball pitch, swing, kick, throw, punch, dodge, leap, swim, fish, drive, ad infinitum. All of which began when little Billy got the first tricycle on the block or little Suzie got the coolest Barbie in the neighborhood. Maybe it was before that, when the parents insisted that at 3 years old the kid have their first $100 pair of Nike tennis shoes (Nike is Greek for victory). How could love possibly exist in this environment? How can anyone love their competitor? But this is the world mindset. This is why schools are such a harsh place for many kids to try to exist. The cruelty of kids can nearly scar a person for life. All so the person can jockey for position in this life and at nearly every age. 

Who is truly at peace with their neighbor?

Is there anywhere where this competition is not found? Is there any place where fallen man will not draw a line and commence a competition? From cradle to grave it seems to happen. Have we not heard it all? “We planned our kids while every one else’s were ‘accidents.'” or “My kid goes to the best school and gets the best grades.” or “My kid is on the honor society.” Then there are the stickers on the bumper; “Proud parent of a Principal Honor Roll student.” And if that were not enough, “My kid beat up your honor roll student!” “My kids are on the deans list.” or “My kid is first chair in the band or is the ‘star quarterback.’ My kid has an academic scholarship. My kid went to private school. My kid is going to Harvard; … oh, really? well mine is going to Oxford!” On and on and on. The madness is nearly enough to gag a person. How many kids have been destroyed by their parents working day and night to forge a child they can be proud of and boast about? Some kids have come to despair even of life because of it. How about this, how about lets just love them and seek God’s will for their lives

The battle for status

I submit to you that the primary reason people are not happy is because they are caught up in the spirit of competition that dominates their lives. They struggle to be happy because they are always reaching for something newer, better, cooler, more expensive, etc., and can never just be thankful for what they have and the state they are in. What an awesome thing it would be to simply stop competing with everyone in all these areas we have mentioned and simply rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. (Romans 12:15) How can a person have compassion on their neighbor when he’s about to lose his house if he feels exalted because he has his paid on time? How can you weep for someone that are are competing against when their misfortune positions you higher than them in this world’s rat race? What use is it to bemoan the gang in the streets that wear red or blue and fight to the death- but wist not that they battle and fight and war – even soliciting God into the mix- praying for more and greater – why? That they may ‘consume’ these things on their own lusts. But lust for what? All that is in the world- simply, possessions, popularity and pleasure. God will not be a part of this fighting and warring. God is not going to bless a person so they can exalt themselves above their fellows. In this the spirit of this age is running utterly contrary to the Spirit of God and we must identify it when it tries to influence our lives. 

My talents and abilities as weapons in this war?

So when your on your way to work and get cut-off by that aggressive driver that’s hoping to get to work an hour early to get that extra overtime to get that larger check to buy that new gadget bigger than the neighbor he don’t like or the buddy that he heard through the grapevine- just bought; consider all this. Consider why it is so difficult to rejoice when someone is blessed. Ask yourself why there is such envy- such displeasure at the blessing of others? Could it not be because we have fallen victim in society to the popular culture that would rather see men and women fight in the afore mentioned battle fields than in the streets with their guns and fists? Was the BBC right when they suggested in the acclaimed video series, The Century of the Self. that these things have been fostered in order to control the dangerous crowd and the hostile forces that exist within fallen man? Can human nature be so depraved- that the masses have to be controlled in this way? This is a radical question to consider. 

Why many cannot rejoice at the blessing of their neighbor

We should ask ourselves, when was the last time I was happy that my neighbor got a better paying job than me? When was the last time that I wept when they lost their job and their home was foreclosed upon? What about if their child did well in school? If we struggle in these and similar areas there is a good chance that we are failing in Romans 12:2 and are allowing the world to press us into its mold. Born again believers have been delivered from the spirit of this age. The challenge to all of this is the ongoing spirit of competition that keeps us from feeling like we are all on ‘the same team’. Nobody gets excited when the competition succeeds. God never intended that we look upon each other as ‘competitors’. This is the worlds ways and it has profited the big corporations in the multiplied billions. What happens if we play the game? Everyone ends up on an island- not in the Spirit of the New Testament, but pressed into the mold of this wretched world (Romans 12:2). We lose the sense of love and compassion and rejoicing that God desires that we experience one for another. In all reality when a person suffers loss- there could actually be pleasant feelings because they are less of a threat. God deliver us from this brutal game that steals our love, compassion and joy. May men be transformed by the renewing of their minds having renounced love for this present evil world.    

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