A people group from Papua New Guinea observed a cultural ritual for centuries. They would chant, dance, and work themselves into a frenzy that culminated with what they called the “murder songs.” Before their god, they would shout the names of people they wanted to kill.
When many in this people group became believers in Jesus, however, they began shouting before God the sins they hated—asking Him to destroy them. They captured a sinful cultural practice and transformed it into something pleasing to Him.
The apostle Paul taught and lived in a countercultural way. In the letter he wrote to the Corinthians, we learn that some false teachers had crept into the church (2 Corinthians 11:3-4). They didn’t have pure motives and were speaking badly about Paul, causing some Corinthians to turn against him.
With wisdom and directness, the apostle took this opportunity to remind the Corinthians that they didn’t have to conform to their culture (2 Corinthians 10:4). Instead, through the power of the Holy Spirit, they could conform to the likeness of Jesus their Savior. Using a military metaphor, Paul told them to “capture their rebellious thoughts” and learn to “obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). He encouraged them to bring ungodly thoughts and lifestyles in submission to Jesus. In this way, their faith would grow.
How amazing it is to know that we, like Paul, don’t have to “copy the behavior and customs of this world” when faced with dilemmas. Instead, we can “let God transform [us] into a new person by changing the way [we] think” (Romans 12:2). Jesus doesn’t want us to get rid of our culture, but He invites us to allow Him to redeem it and experience joy and peace in His presence.
In what areas of your life might you be conforming to sinful cultural norms rather than following Jesus’ example? With God’s help, what spiritual weapon can you use to make a cultural correction?
Taken from “Our Daily Journey”