WHAT’S TRENDING?

I the Lord do not change. [Malachi 3:6a (NCV)]

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. [Hebrews 13:8 (NCV)]

water lily - naples botanic gardenI never thought attending a concert by the U.S. Army Field Band and Chorus would make me feel so out of touch with social media, but it did. It began when the audience was asked to choose the evening’s encore by voting on Twitter or Facebook. As the evening progressed, we learned that we could get the latest band news on Google Plus, see a live video stream on Periscope, watch webcasts on the band’s website, sign up for an email newsletter, see band videos on YouTube, tweet about them on Twitter, like and follow them on Facebook, view photos on their Flickr gallery, and purchase their music on Google Play. Since most of us had never even heard of Periscope, we stuck to watching them perform on stage rather than on our phones!

Thinking about how social media has changed our lives led me to ponder the other changes I’ve seen over the years. Was it really that long ago when we waited until Sunday to make long distance calls, a tattoo meant a man had served time either in the Navy or prison, people sent telegrams instead of texts, and young men wore their pants at their waists instead of around their buttocks? Some changes are welcome—air bags and seat belts, no smoking in restaurants and workplaces, shopping from my computer, digital cameras, FaceTime with the grands, and my GPS. I am less enthusiastic about others—going through security at the airport and entertainment venues, the lack of hand-written thank-you notes, airline up-charges, technical assistance that doesn’t assist, and cells phones at restaurants and theaters. Some trends I find downright troubling—sexting being thought of as a “new form of flirting” (as I read in today’s newspaper), clothing that once caused a blush in the boudoir now is considered street attire, teens having co-ed pajama parties, the concepts of “friends with benefits” or “hooking-up,” and reality TV about bachelors, bachelorettes and “real” housewives. Clearly, I’m “old fashioned” and out of touch with today’s society.

Times may change and what’s trending now may well be forgotten tomorrow, but there is one thing that never changes: God. He is immutable – which simply means unchanging. Fashion, science, laws and technology may change but God’s standards never will. Whether or not something has become acceptable to society doesn’t matter to Him. We are not supposed to compromise God’s standards to accommodate life’s reality; instead, we are to change our lives to accommodate His law. While God’s word may seem a bit “old-fashioned,” it is never out of date. If it was wrong then, it’s wrong now and, if it was right then, it’s still the right thing to do!

Recently, I was asked if I’m a thermometer or a thermostat. A thermometer, of course, shows us the temperature while a thermostat shows us what the temperature should be. If we’re thermometers, our lives reflect the changing ways, trends and fads of society. On the other hand, if we’re thermostats, we try to effect change on society to reflect God’s ways—the way God wants it to be.

Which are you—thermometer or thermostat?

You must not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to complete them. Indeed, I assure you that, while Heaven and earth last, the Law will not lose a single dot or comma until its purpose is complete. This means that whoever now relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men to do the same will himself be called least in Heaven. But whoever teaches and practices them will be called great in the kingdom of Heaven. For I tell you that your goodness must be a far better thing then the goodness of the scribes and Pharisees before you can set foot in the kingdom of Heaven at all! [Matthew 5:17-20 (PHILIPS)]