“A whole new generation of Christians has come up believing that it is possible to “accept” Christ without forsaking the world” – A.W. Tozer
Every Sunday night I have the opportunity to sit down and fellowship with my awesome youth group. I always look forward to this time together because we share our stories from the past week, talk about challenges or obstacles we may be facing, and also read and discuss stories in the bible. Lately, only my youth group leader and I have been meeting on Sunday nights. These past few weeks he has given me the challenge to read more of my bible. With the combination of work, summer school, and other personal obligations, you will find me buried in my microbiology book more than my bible!
This past Sunday night, my youth group leader Paul and I met together. He asked me how my daily reading of the Word has been going and I explained to him my busy schedule, at least what I thought was a busy schedule. Paul understood my circumstances with school and work, but he also wanted to teach me a valuable lesson, the importance of reading the Word and my relationship with God.
As a relatively new Christian, until Paul and I talked, I failed to realize how crucial the Word is to my personal growth. Even though life can be busy, I need to remember who I put first. In the heat of school, work, and life, I need to remember my relationship with God. He is the one who can give me the strength, courage, and hope that I need to make it through my day. Recently, I have found myself pursuing a relationship with God that I want. In the book, The Man in the Mirror, the author Patrick Morley describes this idea as Cultural Christianity VS Biblical Christianity.
Here is his definition of Cultural Christianity:
Cultural Christianity means to pursue the God we want instead of the God who is. It is the tendency to be shallow in our understanding of God, wanting Him to be more of a gentle grandfather type who spoils us and lets us have our own way. It is sensing a need for God, but on our own terms. It is wanting the God we have underlined in our Bibles without wanting the rest of Him, too. It is God relative instead of God absolute.
Even though I have been busy these past few weeks, I still need to set time aside to read the Word and be with God. Who is number one in your life? Do you see yourself as a Cultural Christian, pursuing the God you want, or do you see yourself as a Biblical Christian, pursuing the God who is? Take a look at the sower parable. Morley describes four groups of “Christians” that exists in today’s society:
Group 1 – The Non-Christian: Those along the path are the ones who heat, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved (Luke 8:12).
Group 2 – The Cultural Christian: Type “C”: Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away (Luke 8:13).
Group 3 – The Cultural Christian: Type “D”: The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures, and they do not mature (Luke 8:14).
Group 4 – The Biblical Christian: But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop (Luke 8:15).
Can you identify yourself within one of the four groups listed above? Maybe after reading you realized that you are more of a Cultural Christian than a Biblical Christian. If so, Morley shares a few ideas that can help you seek a Biblical Christian lifestyle. To begin, examine the influences you expose yourself to (friends, music, movies, books, internet) Look at your set of values, are they biblical or cultural. In the end, be patient with yourself, pray about your struggles with God, and remember, “The man in the mirror will never change until he is willing to see himself as he really is, and to commit to know God as He really is.”