Whether you know it or not, from the moment you were born you have been part of a culture. Your culture has shaped and influenced you in ways you're not even aware of.
What you read, what you listen to, how you spend your time, who you spend your time with, all these things map out a path for you guiding you into what you believe and how to behave. The culture you swim in each and every day is changing and shaping you.
What is Culture?
Culture is very hard to define. Google the word and you will get pages and pages of definitions. A godly thinker and Christian leader defines it this way:
Culture is a tapestry, intricate, and often beautiful which is woven together by a given society to express it's corporate identity.
Wherever there are people, there is culture. Culture exercises more power over us that we know and are willing to admit. It changes us. It shapes us. It forms us. And if we are not careful it deforms and misshapes us by pushing us away from God's good desires for who we are and how we are to live in our world.
Depending on where you are from, your tapestry may be a bit different than mine.
While there are unique local threads in each, we share many of the same threads because we are part of an even larger culture where we tend to think the same about larger issues in life. Culture is a soup. It is "the soup" of beliefs and behaviors that we marinate in everyday. We are bound together with those who think and live in a similar manner.
Culture is not optional. It is an ever-present "map for life" that either shapes or misshapes our beliefs and behaviors.
Culture influences our worldview. It is the model, lens, framework, and basic beliefs in which we view the world around us, our purpose in life, and our future. We all wear worldview glasses. Each of us live in a culturally-influenced worldview everyday. The worldview glasses your choose to wear will shape how you understand, interpret, and live your life.
God desires that we develop a Christian worldview that shapes our beliefs and behaviors... all to His glory.
I will mediate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
The Christian worldview is rooted in the story of what God is doing in the world. God's great plan for us is that we find and live our place in His grand story. As followers of Jesus we are called to live in, but not of the world. We need to be intent on God's map for our lives rather than the cultural map for our lives. There may be times when the cultural map will get it right and agree with God's map. But more often than not, the two maps will lead in different directions. Jesus tells us that there is a wide and easy well-traveled way that leads to destruction. His way is narrow and difficult, but leads to life. (Matt. 7:13-14).
The words "follow me" are spoken by Jesus 22 times in the Gospels. They ae the core of what it means to find one's purpose in life. We are to follow His will and way as He reveals His map for our lives through His Word. We need to understand the soup that we marinate in as inhabitants of culture and only celebrate and affirm the cultural map when it affirms God's will and way. Also, with God's help, we will make decisions to steer away from the map of culture that leads us astray.
Remember in Matthew 4:19 when Peter, Andrew, James, and John immediately left what they were doing and followed Jesus. They were broken and imperfect like many of us and learned , as we can, that a lifetime of listening to Jesus and His word is life-giving and leads to human flourishing.