You may or may not have heard these phrases used before: Culture is sinful. Jesus tells us to reject culture and follow Him. While these may sound super spiritual, they’re not exactly accurate. Let’s look at that last phrase. Jesus tells us to reject culture and follow Him. Does He really tell us to reject culture? Let’s take a look in the book of John:
I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. (John 17:14-15 ESV)
My dad has a really cool expression he likes to use that goes like this: “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re of no earthly good.” What is that supposed to mean? It means this. Don’t be so set on avoiding fellow sinners for the sake of becoming holy that you are completely oblivious to what is going on in the world. You see, God is not telling us to live an entirely separate life isolated from the world, to steer clear of unbelievers, because here’s the truth: Culture is unavoidable. Everyone has one. All ‘culture’ really means is the ideas, beliefs, and behaviors of a certain society. I’ll admit, some aspects of culture are filled with sin and regret, but many are not. Even Christians have their own unique culture! Our culture is (or should be) one of love and sincerity that stems from our wholehearted belief in Jesus Christ! That is a culture, and a really great one at that.
Jesus isn’t saying to avoid culture entirely. As we’ve seen, it’s kind of impossible. What He’s saying is that while it can be good to take part in the world, we shouldn’t let earthly thoughts consume our minds so that it pulls our focus away from Christ. Our main focus should be bringing glory to our heavenly Father and hopefully let that love for Him shine through our own cultures.
With school, work, and whatever else that’s pulling at us, it can become really easy to lose perspective and start blending in with the not-so-good cultures around us. I encourage you to spend just a little bit of time in the Word each day so that you never lose sight of what godly culture should look like. Always make sure that when people see your culture, they see your serving heart and love for Jesus, because that’s the kind of culture we should be striving for.