29 Aug Culture Club
The Christian faith has become a culture. This sounds nice. Sure…Jesus Culture…I think that is the name of a worship band or a church or something…The only problem is Jesus and culture do not mix. They never have, and they never will.
Jesus can never be a cultural norm, because culture is pluralistic. In the United States, there are people who follow Jesus, tolerate Jesus, and outright hate Jesus. That is totally allowed by the U.S. Constitution, and that is the way it should be for a republic. We are not a theocracy where adherence is mandated, but people can choose faith. Some choose to worship God, and others do not.
The church is in trouble because we have come to believe following Jesus is the same as coming to a church service. Christianity as culture is a violation of the Gospel. To be clear: Christianity as culture is people defining their faith in Jesus by church membership or attendance instead of a transforming relationship with Jesus.
Under that model, church becomes an inroads to a business deal, a group of friends, power, position, or authority. We are becoming what so many rabbis lament about their Jewish heritage: a culture without faith in God. Any pursuit of that version of Christianity must cease, because it can only lead away from Jesus.
When a potential follower came to Jesus, saying I will follow you, but I need to make sure my affairs are in good order and everyone understands what I am doing, Jesus’ response was telling. Jesus said, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:61-62). We understand Jesus to say, If you try to follow me and serve something or someone else, you are not actually following me. Yikes. This is definitely a grace and truth message from Jesus.
We should not confuse following Jesus with going to church; they are not the same. When we follow Jesus, He starts transforming us. Coming to church becomes a place to worship God and learn the story of Jesus, but our faith is seen throughout the week. Jesus wants to drive sin out of our lives. There are no two ways about it: our sinful ways must die and Jesus must lead the assault.
You and I lived in sin. It was our master. We did whatever sin told us to do, and we believed everything sin said about us: we are not good enough and we never will be. We satisfied our desires and got drunk and lived to excess. We gossiped, tore people down, and excelled at looking like we had it all together. That life has to end.
When we follow Jesus, He becomes our Master. Living that former life is putting our hand to the plow and looking back. We cannot live that way and follow Jesus. He wants nothing to do with us when we live that way, and we have no part of His kingdom.
So…today…right now, Jesus wants the excuses to stop. The old life has to die! Our hands are on the plow, and Jesus is ready to transform us. He has work for His servants. Are we willing?
Blessings to you,