Christ and Culture

Christ and Culture
Author: Ian Young, Middle School Director
Ten - Part 3
How has our culture influenced you? Have you downloaded Instagram? Have you sent a meme from your iPhone or ordered something from Amazon? Do you set aside multiple hours on the weekend for football? Is there a desire in you to climb the corporate ladder or have a beautiful home that HGTV would want to visit?

I do not believe any of these things are in and of themselves evil or sinful. How we navigate culture and the Gospel can be a beautiful thing that makes a Kingdom impact. However, we must be aware that the world has the habit of trying to infiltrate our hearts, convincing us it’s more important than Jesus.

Exodus 20:3-5a says, “Do not have other gods besides Me. Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. Do not bow in worship to them, and do not serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.”

Despite these words of God, Israel allowed their culture to negatively influence their hearts and worship. They combined the Egyptian practice of making idols, which were seen as an extension of whatever false deity they were believing in, with their worship of Yahweh, the one true God. Exodus 32:1-4 details how the Israelites created a golden calf and began to worship it as if it was an extension of God.

Now, most of us, I would say, do not have golden calves in our backyards beside our marigolds in our flower beds, which we believe is an extension of the Triune God we serve. But how have we let culture influence our worship and faith? How have we let the world and American culture permeate our understanding of Scripture?

Ask God to reveal any idols in your life and where our culture has overstepped into your faith. Ask for the strength to submit those things to Him so He may take the proper place in your life.

Let’s look at one commonly misinterpreted verse, Philippians 4:13. It says, “I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” To be clear, this verse, at face value, is absolutely true. There is nothing that God cannot do and nothing that God cannot help you do or accomplish.

However, this verse is often used to further personal agendas rather than the Kingdom of Christ. People quote Philippians 4:13 as a magic formula to manifest their desires: fulfilling the American Dream, winning a sporting event, getting that promotion, and so on. I say this gently and with love because I used to believe this way, but that’s not how it works or the meaning of this Scripture.

Let’s back up to Philippians 4:11-12, which will provide more context for the heart of that verse. These verses state, “I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself. I know how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances, I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.”

Through Paul, God is communicating that no matter the circumstances, whether you have a little or a lot, no matter how severe the suffering, Christ is there—empowering you to endure with contentment so you may persevere with the mission of sharing the Gospel and being a witness to the world.

As you go about the rest of your week, I encourage you to ask God to reveal any idols in your life and where our culture has overstepped into your faith. Ask for the strength to submit those things to Him so He may take the proper place in your life.






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