Sunday, November 20, 2022

Does God require us to give up our cultural identities when we come to Christ?

 When we come to Christ, does God require us to give up the cultural identity and heritage we were born into?

   Absolutely not!

   But everyone who comes to Christ should be willing to give up everything that will hinder the development of their new identity in, and service to, Jesus.

   When we surrender our lives to Christ, we no longer belong to ourselves, but to the God of Heaven. We belong to our Father and Lord (as in master) Jesus Christ, who purchased us with his own blood. We are not our own, for we have been bought with a great price –Isaiah 9:6, Acts 20:28 (kjv), 1 Corinthians 6:20.

   In the book of Genesis, Abraham was instructed to leave his country, his kindred, and his Father’s house to go to an unknown land that God would show him.

   That could not have been easy for Abraham. He lived in a culture where family ties and responsibilities meant a great deal. But, even so, he was obedient to his God in this command.

   Abraham was neither asked nor required to adopt the ways and trappings of another cultural Identity when he chose to follow God. But he was required to allow God to develop his life and lifestyle into something completely new.

   When we come to Christ, old things are passed away... and all things are become new. We become a completely new creation and are instructed to walk in newness of life.

   At some point in time, most of our ancestors followed an old way. When following the old way, if a new God or spirit were introduced, wasn’t the proper worship of, or way of relating to, that entity sought and adhered to?

   Why then, would we not be willing to do the same for our Redeemer and Creator, the One True God, Jesus Christ, THE ALMIGHTY?

   In Acts chapter 19:17-19, we read about people entering a new life in Christ with a healthy fear of God. They enthusiastically brought items which were used in “curious arts” i.e., occult and demon worship (the “old ways”) and burned them.

   These new followers of Christ had no desire to retain anything of the old ways or old traditions, that they finally understood had never been able to bring life.

   The same is true of behaviors and attitudes. 

   We would be wise to follow their example as we examine and carefully evaluate what we allow ourselves to come into contact with, identify with, and become influenced by, via our old life, activities, associations, possessions, and various forms of media we expose ourselves to.

   The cultural situation we are born into is a large part of who we are but being a New Creation in Christ supersedes even that.

   Absolutely everything in the life of a Christian is superseded by the new identity now possessed in Christ—regardless of what earthly culture one is born into or has adopted.

   Whether we are black, white, Jew, Gentile, Native American, Asian…, the list can go on and on, if we love tradition and the ways of our earthly cultures more than Jesus, if we choose to identify with our earthly cultures more than with Jesus...

   He tells us we are not worthy of him.

   If we love this world and the things it contains (including the cultural heritage we were born into) more than Jesus…

   Jesus says the love of the Father is not in us.

   Just as Joshua challenged the children of Israel before they crossed over into the Promised Land, the Spirit of the Living God challenges us today to, “Choose you this day...”

   Do you love your Savior enough to examine the things you may have held dear, even sacred, your entire life? Could you say like Peter, “Behold, we have forsaken all and followed thee…?”

   Are you willing to give up everything for Jesus?

   He gave up everything for you.

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