Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. Romans 12:2a What evidence is there in your life that you are not being molded into the image of the world? Steven Mattson identifies Christianity’s five most countercultural virtues.
Patience. But if we hope for what we don’t see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8:25
Being patient is a countercultural act of trusting God and accepting the fact that some things are beyond our control. When our society values continuous work, efficiency, action and interaction while also trivializing rest, silence and stillness, it can be increasingly difficult to step away from everything. Unplugging, taking a break, waiting and listening for God to speak is a surprisingly radical accomplishment.
Meekness. Blessed are the meek and gentle—they will inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5
We live in a noisy culture that rewards those who are the loudest, most flamboyant and noticeable. Rants, arguments, yelling and splashy disruptiveness are the new norm. But meekness isn’t a form of weakness. It’s actually a source of strength, allowing people not to be susceptible to hate, rage, fear, violence, injustice. Being gentle and quiet within a frenzied civilization that’s quick to judge, accuse, worry and destroy allows us to center ourselves upon God.
Humility. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted. Luke 14:11
We are told to be unapologetically bold, proud and unashamed of our beliefs and behaviors. But it’s easy to be egotistical and arrogant about our political views, theological positions, religious traditions and social worldviews. Acknowledging our faults, embracing our limitations, and living with a humble attitude require uncommon self-control and bravery.
Hope. I pray that God, who gives hope, will bless you with complete happiness and peace because of your faith. And may the power of the Holy Spirit fill you with hope. Romans 15:13
After relationships have failed us, communities have hurt us, institutions have betrayed us, organizations have manipulated us, governments have disappointed us and religions have damaged us, it’s hard not to be cynical and pessimistic about pretty much everything. But for those who have an attitude of hope inspired by Jesus, there’s a sense of meaning, purpose and optimism toward life.
Faith. Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen. Hebrews 11:1
It’s becoming less common for people to hold passionate convictions about any person, thing, idea or philosophy. Faith doesn’t mean there’s an absence of doubt, mystery, or complexity, but it allows you to have confidence in something—a relationship with someone. To invest your trust and hope in any one thing is notable, but to have faith in an unseen, unquantifiable, supernatural God is one of the most countercultural acts possible.