Cultures in Conflict
Posted On May 2, 2019
People do what they know to do. They
would do otherwise if they knew another way. In obedience to Romans 12: 1-2
most believers in Christ want to present themselves a living sacrifice, holy
and acceptable to God. They don’t want to be conformed to this world but find
it difficult to fulfill this command even though they are willing. They
struggle with the person they want to be and the person they actually are. I
have counseled many individuals and have mentored countless others that love
God but find it difficult to love Christ. In my personal struggle to look more
like Christ than “the world” I have come to realize that until a person becomes
aware of the two cultures surrounding them and understand the differences in
each culture and how each culture impacts everything they believe, they will
struggle greatly. I want to share with you what I’ve discovered and the impact
it has made on my personal relationship with God and the freedom I’ve
experienced because of this knowledge. Jesus said, “My people perish for a lack
of knowledge.” How very, very true. Let’s first define the source by which we
are “in conflict”.
The definition of the world “culture” is the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group; Also, culture is the characteristic features of everyday existence (such as diversions or a way of live) shared by people in a place or time such as the southern culture. Culture is also the set of values, conventions, or social practices.
Within a culture you have a society. The definition of the word “society” says a society is an enduring and cooperating social group whose members have developed organized patterns of relationships through interaction with one another or a community, nation or broad grouping of people having common traditions, institutions, and collective activities and interests.
Therefore, it is safe to say that we
are “programmed” from birth to adult within our culture or society in our
understanding of how one relates to others, our beliefs, communication, what
behavior is acceptable and what is not acceptable, what treatment we deserve,
what we don’t deserve, what is valued and what is not valued, etc. Each society
and culture have rules of behavior unique to them. Again, I say, we’ve been
Our brain is like a computer. It is
our hard drive and created to work in a certain way. Also, our mind is like the
software. Our software reflects our belief systems and how to survive here on
planet earth. Learning how to make life work involves being aware and agreeing
with Roman 12: 1-2 that we are to challenge our programming and delete the
beliefs that reflect “the kingdom of this world” and replace our beliefs with
those that are in accord with the good news of the Gospel! The good news is
that you are unconditionally loved and accepted and forgiven by God. That
through Jesus Christ your debt has been paid. If you accept that Jesus is the
way to God, you become adopted into God’s family and given a new identity, position
and authority. Through the Holy Spirit we have everything to undo all the works
of the enemy.
Once we realize the distinct and
opposite systems that are competing for our allegiance, we are well on our way
to identifying our lie-based beliefs. Awareness is the beginning of change and
choice. We cannot change anything that we are unaware.
Influence of Culture
I was raised in the state of Nebraska,
USA. My husband was raised in Louisiana, USA. Same country, but what a culture
shock when I first visited the state of Louisiana. The food they ate, the way
they brewed coffee, the accent of their peach, their recreation preferences,
was very different from the farmland, hard-work culture of Nebraska. My
ancestors immigrated to the United States from Demark (father and Wales &
Scotland (mother). My husband’s family were descendants from France, Quebec,
and the native Indians. I’m sure how you can see how the customs and traditions
of their culture and social norms affect how they functioned in life.
In a lengthy discussion with a
precious man from Ireland, he told me as recent as three years ago, you could
be killed if you were a Catholic in a Protestant dominated environment or
location or visa versa. Our culture and society have a profound effect on what
we believe about ourselves and others.
As individuals move from childhood
into adulthood and are exposed to other cultures, they hopefully retain their
ways and traditions that are life giving and let go of the things that do not
fit into their broader view. We are looking at the things that make life work
and the things that do not. We do this all the time on our computer. For
example, as I type this document, I change words or delete words that are not
communicating what I want to say. A person who is continually developing into a
self-actualized adult is continually challenging and updating their belief
system. A believer in Christ should be continually challenging and updating
their belief system to agree with God’s Word, which is our blueprint to truth
and life. Jesus told us that if we “know (experientially) the truth” we will
Let’s look at what the Word of God,
The Bible, says about the culture or society (world) in which we live. The
Bible uses the words “kingdom” and “world” to describe the culture and
social influence surrounding us.
Romans 12 New King James Version (NKJV)
Living Sacrifices to God
12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
1 John 2 J.B. Phillips New Testament
See “the world” for what it is
15-17 Never give your hearts to this world or to any of the things in it. A man cannot love the Father and love the world at the same time. For the whole world-system, based as it is on men’s primitive desires, their greedy ambitions and the glamour of all that they think splendid, is not derived from the Father at all, but from the world itself. The world and all its passionate desires will one day disappear. But the man who is following God’s will is part of the permanent and cannot die.
1 John 2 New International Version
On Not Loving the World
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
2 Corinthians 10 Amplified
12 We do not have the audacity to put ourselves in the same class or compare ourselves with some who [supply testimonials to] commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they lack wisdom and behave like fools.
2 Corinthians 11 New King
James Version (NKJV)
3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Ephesians 4 Amplified
The Christian’s Walk
17 So this I say, and solemnly affirm together with the Lord [as in His presence], that you must no longer live as the [unbelieving] Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds [and in the foolishness and emptiness of their souls], 18 for their [moral] understanding is darkened and their reasoning is clouded; [they are] alienated and self-banished from the life of God [with no share in it; this is] because of the [willful] ignorance and spiritual blindness that is [deep-seated] within them, because of the hardness and insensitivity of their heart. 19 And they, [the ungodly in their spiritual apathy], having become callous and unfeeling, have given themselves over [as prey] to unbridled sensuality, eagerly craving the practice of every kind of impurity [that their desires may demand]. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way! 21 If in fact you have [really] heard Him and have been taught by Him, just as truth is in Jesus [revealed in His life and personified in Him], 22 that, regarding your previous way of life, you put off your old self [completely discard your former nature], which is being corrupted through deceitful desires, 23 and be continually renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh, untarnished mental and spiritual attitude], 24 and put on the new self [the regenerated and renewed nature], created in God’s image, [godlike] in the righteousness and holiness of the truth [living in a way that expresses to God your gratitude for your salvation].
is it so important to look at the influence of our culture? Why do I find it
hard to believe, trust and live out as true, the new identify that God has
given me? Why do I let other people tell me whether I’m acceptable or of value?
Why am I afraid to experience disapproval from those I care about? What compels
me to “be like” everyone else instead of discovering the “me” God created?
culture of the kingdom of “the world” is counter-culture to the Kingdom of God. It is opposite the
teachings of culture of the Kingdom
of God that Christ taught while on earth. The world’s culture says that your worth or value depends on what you
do (performance) and what other people think about what you do (performance).
This culture also believes that love should be withheld from you when you fail
as a form of punishment. Failure can also be interpreted as “different”. To put
into other words, the message of the world
is that if you just meet the standards of the culture well enough you can
become perfect (acceptable). Therefore, if you fail at becoming perfect
(acceptable) if is because you are flawed. If you cannot perfect your “flaws”
you should be ashamed of yourself. If you are flawed, you are helpless and
powerless to change, and society has the right to withhold love and acceptance.
what? As a human being created in the image of God, you are created an
imperfect human being. There is only one person who is perfect, and it is God
Himself. Can you see the great deception operating through the world system? If I am trying to become
acceptable to the world culture, I
will have to hide who God created me to be. Isn’t that Satan’s objective?
Spending our lives hiding and protecting ourselves from others seeing our
imperfections. Surviving instead of thriving.
the world of perfect people. No one
would need anyone. We’d live loveless lives apart from one another. I could not
live in a world of perfect people
because my very imperfect presence would make it an imperfect world!
The Culture of the Kindgom of God
what is the culture of the Kingdom of God? God says even though you are
imperfect in your humanity you are worthy of love and belonging. He says you
are loved, accepted and secure in Christ. You have great significance to Him
and are highly valued. Your value (worth) is based on the life of His only
begotten Son, Jesus Christ, not your performance. So, when shame says you are
inadequate you need to agree with 2 Corinthians 10:12 (listed above) and stop
comparing yourself to others and start comparing yourself to Christ. We are
inadequate to Christ’s power and ability.
message of the Cross in this – there was performance required by God, sinless
performance. But God know that imperfect man could never obtain perfection,
therefore, He became a man, in Christ and did the performing for us. Christ’s
performance was perfect, and it satisfied God as payment for the sins of
mankind, thereby offering reconciliation to God to the entire world. We must
admit that we were helpless to save ourselves and Christ did it for us. That is
why Christ can say, “No one comes to the Father but by Me. I am the way, the
truth and the life.” But praise God, the way is easy for us. Excruciatingly
painful for Christ. God so loved the whole world that He gave His only begotten
Son so that whosoever believes in Christ can inherit eternal life. This is the
good news of the gospel.
are acceptable because you accept the performance of Christ as payment for your
sins. You are loved because God is perfect love. You are secure in Christ
because God is sealed in you and will never leave or forsake you. Your
relationship with God is not based on your performance. It is based on grace
(unmerited favor) of God. It is a gift. You have done nothing to deserve or
merit God’s grace. Salvation is God’s gift to you.
how to recognize the lie-based beliefs that have been imprinted by the culture
of this world that you have lived in since birth is the basis of intimacy with
God and our relationships with others. Life is not going to work unless it is
according to the culture of the Kingdom of God, a kingdom of life and love. A
kingdom that is counter culture to the kingdom of the world. We become aware of
the difference in the two cultures and start to conform to the Kingdom of God
culture. It’s our job. No one can do it but us. It is a wonderful journey to
take, with liberty and freedom given whenever you exchange the world’s ways for
God knows how to make life work and He very much wants you to know and
understand His truth. Didn’t Jesus say, “I came that they might have life and
have it abundantly.” Each of us is unique, unlike anyone else on planet earth.
We each have a specific destiny and purpose we are to fulfill in partnership
with God. To be fulfilled is to be in our place of purpose. Just as God
purposed for Adam and Eve, He has purposed for mankind to trust and surrender
our lives to Him. He wants to live His life in and through us. This is the way
to make life work!
is a chart I created to show you the “opposites” of each kingdom.
|THE KINGDOM OF THIS |
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
| I can and must be perfect || Comfortable with imperfection |
Fear of man
Fear of God
Fear of failure
Willing to risk
Trust in man &
Trust in God
Dependent on God
Shaming and blaming
|| Vulnerability and transparency |
|| Vulnerability and transparency |
| Unforgiveness, conditional love ||
| Hide imperfections/create false self ||
Denial and secrets
Committed to truth
Disrespect when you
Empathy “me too”
Lie to avoid
expectations (at peace with self)
Power over and
One of my very favorite scriptures,
Jeremiah 17:5-8 illustrates the contrast in our lives based on who it is we
look to as our source.
Jeremiah 17 New King
James Version (NKJV)
5 Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,
Whose heart departs from the Lord.
6 For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
And shall not see when good comes,
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
9 “The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
10 I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.
This scripture is illustrating the
difference when you see ourselves or others as the SOURCE of life, rather than
relying upon God to be our SOURCE of life. In the world culture, we are taught
to rely upon ourselves, be independent and don’t trust anyone but yourself to
survive. However, God is the One in whom we put our faith and trust. Man is
limited. God is an unending SOURCE of life. He is far more intelligent than we
are. After all, He was the one who created all things. When you look at it this
way, it seems obvious who we should draw upon as our source but remember —
we’ve been programmed to trust in man. It will take awareness and commitment to
change our subconscious responses. Be encouraged! You must learn a new way of
thinking and doing.