When we come to Christ, does God require us to give up the
cultural identity and heritage we were born into?
But everyone who comes to Christ is required to be willing to
give up everything that will hinder the development of his or her new identity in, and service to, Jesus.
We no longer belong to ourselves but to the God of Heaven and the Father of
our Lord (as in master) Jesus Christ who purchased us with his own blood.
We are not our own--we have been bought with a price.
In the book of Genesis, we see Abraham being instructed to leave
his country, his kindred and his Father's house and go to an unknown land that God
would show him.
That could not have been easy for Abraham. He lived in a culture where
family ties and responsibilities meant a great deal, but, none the less, he was obedient to his God in this command.
Abraham was neither asked nor required to adopt the ways and trappings of another
cultural Identity when he chose to follow God.
But he was required to allow God to develop his life, and lifestyle,
into something completely new.
When we come to Christ, the scriptures say, old things are passed
away...and all things are become new. We become a completely new creation and are instructed
to walk in newness of life.
At some point in time all of our ancestors followed an old
way. When following the old way, if a new God or spirit were introduced, wasn't the proper worship of, or way
of relating to that entity sought and adhered to?
Why then, would we not be willing to do the same for our Redeemer and Creator, the
great God of the universe, The one True God, Christ Jesus?
In Acts chapter 19:17-19, we see new believers entering their new life in Christ
with a healthy fear of God.
We witness them enthusiastically bringing items which were used in "curious arts"
i.e., occult (demon worship--"old ways") and burning them (getting rid of them).
These Christians had no desire to retain anything of the old ways which they now
knew could never bring life--only despair, death and destruction.
The cultural situation we were born into constitutes a large part of who we are,
but being a New Creation in Christ supersedes even that.
Absolutely everything in the life of every Christian is superceded
by the new identity we now possess in Christ--regardless of what earthly culture we are born into.
Whether we are black, white, Jew, Gentile, Native American, Asian... (the list can
go on and on), if we love the old ways of our earthly culture more than Jesus, if we choose to identify
with our earthly culture more than Jesus...
He tells us we are not worthy of him.
If we love this world and the things it contains (including the cultural
heritage we were born into), we are told...
The love of the Father is not in us.
Just as Joshua challenged the children of Israel before they crossed over into
the promised land, the Spirit of God challenges us today...
choose you this day...
Do you love your Savior enough to examine the things you may have held dear
and even sacred your entire life? Are you willing to give up everything for Jesus?
He gave up everything for you.
Would you like to be able to say with Peter,
"behold, we have forsaken all and followed thee...."