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
3 thoughts on “Seeing and Living the All-inclusive Christ who is versus Culture by Praying Unceasingly”
I have been recently touched by this matter in Galatians chapter 2. We are all familiar with verse 20, but to see that the context of “for to me to live is Christ” is versus Peter living according to the Jewish culture was new to me. And them Paul says, “I do not nullify the grace of God.” The footnote reads:
“The grace of God is that Christ, the embodiment of the Triune God, has imparted the divine life into us through the life-giving Spirit. Not to live by this Spirit is to nullify the grace of God.”
So, to match this post, to live out our culture is to nullify the grace of God. Lord, keep us contacting You as the life-giving Spirit by our unceasing prayer.
“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!!”
Lord, become our all in all! Blend us into the one new man! Be our life, living, and person! Lord, keep us inquiring of You and opening to You every aspect of our daily living. Lord Jesus we love You. Gain us during these days as such a people here on earth.
Dear Contributing Author,
I appreciate much this matter you have brought out about our culture being our standard, and I would like to comment a little.
First, with regards to ourselves, we live out culture, subconsciously, and automatically. Culture is actually woven into the very fabric of our soul, our mind, emotion, and will, and even effects our conscience. I say conscience, because in certain circumstances our conscience functions based upon our knowledge or understanding, which are aligned with our culture, see 1 Corinthians 8 for more on this. While among those of our own culture, our culture is not a hinderance between we and they. The hinderance is between ourself and Christ, as the author of this post has pointed out. Being good, behaving morally, or cultured and refined, actually mean nothing as far as our final condition are concerned. Certainly they have their place in human society. However, in God’s plan they count as nothing. Humanity will be judged on whether or not they contain the life of God, and if so, they will be judged upon how much of this life they have lived, or allowed to spread into their soul, how much oil is in their vessel. In this sense, failures, and short comings may actually be of more benefit in helping us to gain more Christ, than living a perfect, cultured, refined life. If we live our culture, then we are not living Christ. To live culture is to just live by your default natural constitution. Here, again, the hinderance, is between us and Christ. Therefore, the ultimate question is have you lived Christ? experienced Christ? regardless of the circumstances that led you to do so. Our culture can be a hinderance in this.
Secondly, there is a whole additional aspect to culture with regards to its hinderance between ourselves and those with a different culture. Here is where culture can really become a standard, and source of criticism, and divisiveness. We may tend to prefer ones with a similar culture to us, or despise of look down upon, or disapprove of those with a culture different from us. Wearing deodorant, shaving our faces, eating with forks and knives, versus our hands, what we consider politically correct, are all products of our culture. The danger is that we would know, consider, and judge others based upon culture, using our culture as a standard for others. I am reminded of Paul’s word to those coming together in Colossai, “there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all and in all.” First Corinthians 2:2 is also worthy of consideration in this light. “For I did not determine to know anything among you except Jesus Christ, and this One crucified.” What matters to us should be Christ, not culture. Although, these comments are brief, we can begin to see that our culture can be a hinderance, is a hinderance, to our relationship between both the Head and the Body. Therefore, it is altogether paramount, to “drop” our culture by living Christ through contacting Him continually, as the author of this post has faithfully pointed out.
Actually, many times ones we may consider to be good brothers or sisters, may just be ones who are living out a culture similar to ours according to our standard. We may even have a church life culture, a religious standard, of how things should be done, look, or be carried out. These matters of a chuch life and religious culture, are delicate matters, yet they are rife among us. We will never get rid of our culture, until the Lord returns. However by living a daily life full of contacting, considering, musing, and breathing in Christ in prayer, the factor of our living will not our culture, but Christ.
While the considerations here are very broad in scope, this post alone is insufficient in covering all the details and multiple faucets of such a topic. There is the need for further supplement by others, and I hope several of you would consider and respond.
Affect. in the Lord,