Thursday, July 26, 2007

Define your culture - Don't let it define you

I've been thinking a lot recently about how Christianity equates with our modern culture and the more I think about it the more it becomes clear.

Jesus wants us not to be defined by our culture or let it define our relationship with Him. He wants us, as Christians, to define it and define it in a way that shows who He really is and reflects His nature.

We live in a consumer society, where the philosophy is to take what you can get and do what you like, as long as it offends no-one else. Take as much as out of the world as you can as much as it benefits you as long as it harms no one else, that's no problem.

We can even let this invade our Christian life. We consume church, and consume God taking what we want from them and then giving nothing back at all, or going no further than is comfortable for us to do. Taking blessing without sacrifice.

Consumerism means never leaving your comfort zone and never invading anyone else's, it means taking from this world till you've got what you want out of it. We can even consume charity work, some people give to charity when it suits them and as long as its no sacrifice to make them feel like we've done something. Its the same with things like Live 8 or Live Earth. It makes people feel better about themselves that something is being done about the big problems. Even worse, some people are completely ignorant of these issues and are only wrapped up in their own worlds to notice or care.

Now Jesus says something totally different. He says to go out of your comfort zone. The Bible commands us - not ask, command - to serve and help those in poverty or injustice, to look after this world, to love everyone as we would ourselves, treat all equally, to forgive the ones who hurt us and to stand up for God's truth, even if it offends others and causes us to be persecuted or made fun of. Even if it puts us in a minority.

Jesus calls us to make sacrifices for Him and to others and surrender control of our lives to Him. Sometimes He even calls us to live by faith and trust Him for all our provision. He calls us to things we think are impossible and which without Him are, meaning we have to rely and trust Him totally. He calls us to be counter-cultural and live counter-cultural. To re-define our culture around us to God's standards and reflect it in our lifestyle.

There's lots more to this topic and I've only briefly touched on it. But the bottom line is that we should define our culture to the standards that God calls us to, not let ourselves and our faith be governed and defined by our culture. Lets be radical for God without fear and then we can make real change for God.