Day 12: Culture: The Beauty and the Thorns

“Where in your life is culture winning the day, and not the gospel?”

I honestly didn’t know how to write this article, or what to say – I mean, how do you even define culture? But then, my pastor asked this question one Sunday, and my brain could barely process it because I was absolutely stunned.

If you do a simple google search, you’ll see that culture is defined as “the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively”. That’s quite the definition, one that my brain also has a hard time processing (though, for much different reasons).

Now, if you do a bit of searching in scripture…the results are very different.

When I think of culture, I think of the world. I think of all the many cultures – the lifestyles, the traditions, the music, the art – that each country, city, and home is saturated in. Culture is everywhere. Culture is in the streets of Rio de Janeiro, and it’s in the living room of your home. You, in fact, are a part of it, whether you may realize it or not.

Culture is really, truly a beautiful thing. But culture is also cruel. It can rob you, intoxicate you, control you. Culture is like a rose. I know, I’ve used this metaphor before, but bear with me here.

It’s the vibrancy and the beauty of a rose’s petals that draws you in, but it’s also what blinds you. They blind you to the thorns that await your grasp. This is culture. The vibrancy, beauty, freedom, and color of culture draws you in, but it blinds you to what awaits you, if you approach it without keeping your focus on the One who created you. On the One who redeemed you.

That same One – our God and Savior – has called us out of the world. In John 15:19 it says that he chose us out of the world. In Romans 12:2 we are commanded to “not be conformed to this world”.

It’s okay to be a part of the culture that soaks the world, it’s okay to reach for that rose. But we must do so with the lens of Christ, if you will; with the knowledge and understanding that God has called us to be transformed in Him, rather than conformed to the world.

Stand in a culture-soaked world, but stand as a Jesus-saturated, chosen, child of God.

Apply It!

In Galatians 3:28, it says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (ESV)

We are all one in Christ. No matter the culture we were raised in, and no matter the culture we stand in now. Keep this in mind as you go about your week – and as Thanksgiving approaches, be thankful for the people that surround you and love you.

Ask yourself this question: where in my life is culture winning the day, and not the gospel?

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