A year ago, The Wall Street Journal and NORC at the University of Chicago (National Opinion Research Center) published a study exploring Americans’ perceptions of themselves, their future, and their values. https://www.wsj.com/articles/americans-are-losing-faith-in-college-education-wsj-norc-poll-finds-3a836ce1

Let’s examine the findings related to what could be termed “traditional American values.”

  • 25% of Americans do not view patriotism as significant.

  • Nearly 20% of Americans consider community engagement to be unimportant.

  • Despite our differences, 90% of Americans agree on the importance of hard work.

  • 25% of Americans do not find marriage to be crucial, although 70% regard it as either somewhat or very important.

  • 33% of Americans do not prioritize having children.

  • Tolerance is deemed important by 90% of Americans.

  • A third of Americans do not find faith in God to be essential.

  • 40% of Americans do not consider religion to be of importance.

Studies like this, gauging where we are as a people, should give each one of us a good idea of how we stack against the rest of the country.

Are these findings something to be happy about, or to be worried about?

Should we rejoice that 70% still find marriage to be important or very important?

Or should we grieve over the fact that one-third don’t consider faith in God to be important?

The New Testament offers guidance to believers on how to relate to our present world, emphasizing a balance between living in the world but not being of it.

  1. Live as Salt and Light (Matthew 5:13-16): As believers, we are called to influence the world positively, being “salt of the earth” and “light of the world,” exemplifying Christ-like behavior and pointing others towards God. How salty is your salt?

  2. Not Conformed to the World (Romans 12:2): As Christians, we are advised not to conform to the pattern of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. This involves embracing values and behaviors that reflect God’s will, which is “good, pleasing, and perfect.”

  3. Seek Things Above (Colossians 3:1-2): Believers are encouraged to set their minds on things above, not on earthly things. This perspective shift involves focusing on eternal truths and values rather than temporal desires and concerns.

  4. Use the World, Not Engrossed in It (1 Corinthians 7:31): Paul acknowledges that while as believers we live in the world, we should not become absorbed by it. This suggests a detachment from the world’s values and a focus on living according to God’s kingdom principles.

  5. Love Not the World (1 John 2:15-17): Christians are cautioned against loving the world or the things in the world, indicating that the love of the Father is not in those who love the world. The “world” in this context refers to a system of values, aspirations, and practices that are opposed to God.

  6. Be Witnesses to the World (Acts 1:8): Before His ascension, Jesus instructed His disciples to be His witnesses “to the ends of the earth.” This reflects the believers’ mission to share the Gospel and live out their faith in a way that draws others to Christ.

  7. Expect Persecution (John 15:18-20): Jesus warned that just as the world persecuted Him, it would also persecute His followers. Believers are to stand firm in their faith, even in the face of opposition, knowing that their ultimate allegiance is to God.

Regardless of where Americans are at today spiritually, our approach as Christians is to engage with the world while we remain ethical in living, with personal integrity, and with a commitment to share and model the Gospel.

Do you enjoy my weekly blogs? Help me reach more people, and please share this with your friends. Thank you!

Jeff Hagen
President & Founder
Hill Cities, Inc.

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