Culture refers mainly to a set of requirements that we create for ourselves or that we inherit from our environment and upbringing. It is deeply rooted in our being, and is often set up as a standard that we need to reach or keep. For this reason, it is a replacement for Christ as the life-giving Spirit who should be the unique source and standard of our living. Since we have a standard of what we should be and how we should live, we automatically set Christ aside and fail to live Him.
Only in the context of God’s economy can we acquire a proper realization of the importance of Christ being versus culture. God’s intention in His economy is to dispense Himself in Christ into His believers and to make Christ everything to them, whereas culture is a substitute for Christ that hinders the believers from having a full experience of Him. Due to a lack of vision concerning the all-inclusive and extensive Christ, many believers continue to live according to their culture after receiving Christ. As believers seeking the Lord, we need to stand against and even reject our culture so that we may live Christ. However, this does not mean that culture has no place. On the contrary, culture along with the law are necessary for those who do not have Christ and for raising the children. But, when Christ comes, there should be a gradual transition from living according to culture to living Christ. Christ must gradually replace culture within us.
When dealing with our culture so that we may live Christ, our focus must be on Christ and not on our culture. Christ must become everything in our daily living. Thus, instead of making up our mind to live a certain kind of Christian life or married life, we simply need to live Christ who is the Spirit in our spirit by praying unceasingly – that is by inquiring of the Lord concerning even the smallest detail in our daily living. If we do this, we will give Christ more and more room in our lives until we live Him, and not our culture. May the Lord gain us as such a people!
Further Reading: Life-Study of Colossians Messages 36 & 37 by Witness Lee