Cultural Reformation

“We need a Cultural Reformation.”  Those words dropped in my heart recently as I was unloading our dishwasher.  I knew it was the voice of the Holy Spirit, but I didn’t have a clue what those words meant.  As I began to seek the Lord about it, He showed my what a cultural reformation is and why we need one.  After He was done I thought, “We need a cultural reformation!”

Culture is the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group.  Culture is the way we do life.  Cultures are formed by the values a group of people share.  For example, if freedom is an important value to a culture, the people within that culture will promote and protect freedom at all costs and in turn freedom will shape the way the people do life.  

The word reform means to improve or amend what is wrong, corrupt, and unsatisfactory. A great example of reform is the Reformation which began when Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of All Saints Church in order to bring change to abuse and corrupt practices in the Catholic Church.  Luther and the reformers were trying to change the way the church operated and bring it more in line with the kingdom of Heaven.

A cultural reformation is when we change how a culture does life.  As Christians, our culture is supposed to reflect the fulness of the kingdom of Heaven.  Think about it, how many times did Jesus say, “The kingdom of heaven is like ________________?  It was a major theme of His ministry.  He would say the kingdom is like a man who sows seed in the ground, like a man seeking beautiful pearls, or like a king who prepared a wedding banquet.  

As the church, our values and the way we do life needs be aligned with the way Jesus does life otherwise we just have a form of godliness that denies true power.  And it takes His power to bring the change we want to see in this world.   

When I speak of cultural reformation, I want to clarify I’m talking about the church and not politics, racism, sexism, or the world at large, however if we had a true cultural reformation in the church it would affect politics, racism, sexism, and the world at large.  The key is we need to start with us.  If we would live like Jesus and sell out to His way of doing life, the world will take notice.  

Much of the reason the church has little impact is because we have become a sub-culture within the culture at large.  The world’s culture has absorbed the church’s culture and influenced its values so they are diluted and our potency is weakened.  The kingdom of heaven isn’t called to be a sub-culture.  It’s not even called to be a counter-culture.  It is the culture.  It’s value systems and ways of doing life are far superior to any other value system on the planet.  If you are a Christian, part of your divine calling is to help that value system spread throughout the earth.  To learn more, watch this video.

Someone may be asking, Pastor Brian, “How has the culture absorbed the church and diluted its values?”  Great question and I’ll answer with an example that has affected how we are all doing life right now.  When the COVID-19 pandemic was announced in March and we all began to quarantine, churches complied.  Grace Life Church did too so I’m not criticizing anyone for anything we didn’t do also.  The question we have to ask is, would Jesus have quarantined?

I don’t think so.  Jesus healed lepers.  In His kingdom, the force of righteousness is so strong that lepers are cleansed.  Jesus didn’t run from problems, He ran to problems and looked at the problem as the opportunity to demonstrate His kingdom and the way heaven does life.  

On the whole churches haven’t taught healing and even those who do don’t practice it very much so when a pandemic hit, we were unprepared.  We didn’t know who we were, whose we were, and the covenant promises of our kingdom so we had to do life like the rest of the world.  If we are really honest, are we shocked when unbelievers don’t want to give there lives to Jesus?   Many of them think the Bible and Jesus are a bunch of fairy tales and when push came to shove and the church had the opportunity to demonstrate the kingdom, we took a pass.  

If you are still reading this article after that last paragraph, I want to say think you. It was tough to read and tougher to write. I do understand we are all in a growth process in our relationship with God, however we shouldn’t use the fact that we are in process to not aggressively pursue our high call to be like Jesus. Too many Christians use the phrase “they are in a growth process” as a cop-out to not sell out to Jesus and His ways.

What does selling out to Jesus look like?  It means we go all in and do whatever we need to do to know Him and walk in His ways.  We can’t afford to think thoughts about Him or about ourselves that He doesn’t think if we want to see a cultural reformation on this earth.  His values have to be our values and with His grace we must lay aside everything in our lives that contradicts His kingdom.  

The cultural reformation begins with a personal reformation.  Are you all in?  If you see something in His word that contradicts what you believe, do you change what you believe?  Do you allow other voices to compete with His voice in your life?  If His values are different than your values, do you change your values?

When I say being all in, I’m not talking about trying to earn blessings from God or never sinning again.  I”m talking about valuing what He values and pursuing those things at all costs.  His love covers our failures and His grace empowers our weakness, so we shouldn’t use our shortcomings as an excuse to not pursue Him.  His kingdom is an invitation to build our lives based on Jesus’s promises and performance.  He just needs us to trust Him and not settle for less.

Psalms 107:36 is one of the most powerful scriptures in all of the Bible on the concept of cultural reformation.  It says:

There He makes the hungry dwell, That they may establish a city for a dwelling place,

This scripture talks about a city being established as a dwelling place.  Cities are communities of people that establish cultures.  God wants to release His culture into the earth, but His ability to do so is contingent upon one thing: our hunger.  Psalms 107:36 says the hungry are the ones who end up dwelling in this city and it becomes there dwelling place.  

I want to challenge each of us to hunger for the things of God.  He is better than we have imagined and His way of doing life is far superior to anything we have ever experienced.  None of us can do this in our strength so I pray for anyone reading this who is receptive that your spiritual hunger increases and you desire Jesus and His kingdom above all else!  To learn more about spiritual hunger, check out this message!

Carpe Diem!

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