Jesus’ call was a call out of nationalism and cultural patriotism and into a Kingdom that knows no political or national boundaries.
As the Apostle Paul reminded the Galatian churches, “there is no Jew or Greek” in the Kingdom. Our national and worldly identities have been abandoned for a new eternal Kingdom identity that enjoins us to a greater nation, the Nation of God.
Gratitude and thankfulness for our nation must be tempered by a primary and superior gratitude for the Nation of God. Our citizenship in the Kingdom is infinitely superior to our citizenship in a political and worldly identity.
The flag of any country should never share space with symbols of the Christian faith, especially when the intent is to arouse patriotism.
When images of the cross are merged with images of the flag, the church’s identity has been compromised.
When churches sing patriotic songs, the church’s identity has been compromised.
Soldiers and military personnel have a great job to perform in protecting the sovereignty of a country and its citizens, but these great men and women are the country’s military, not God’s military.
We can be thankful for the work they do in defending our security without imposing upon them a task to which they were not called.
4. Fear. Fear dominates and dictates much of what people do.
The fear of failure drives people to workaholism, the fear of loneliness drives people to companionship, the fear of flying drives people to driving, the fear of obesity drives people to anorexia, and so on.
One of Jesus’ greatest gifts to the Kingdom is freedom from fear.
John says it this way, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18)
And yet we find fear controlling and dictating much of what Christians do in the Kingdom.
Churches are filled with good people who fear ever disclosing their true beliefs on certain matters of faith for fear of being expelled or sidelined.
Leaders fail to make bold and necessary decisions for fear of offending people.
Others may fear the sting of rebuke or critique if they are open with their feelings on certain matters.
A culture of fear is absolutely contrary to the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God provides absolute freedom for people to be authentic and genuine without fear of being dismissed.
The world and the work place both contain certain elements of fear, but these should never ever creep into the Kingdom. When they do, we have compromised the “perfect love” that promises to cast out all fear in the Kingdom.
5. Individuality. Individuality is a hallmark of the modern person.
Parents encourage children to be different and unique. Fashion trends cater to individual tastes, and the individual is honored as someone great, someone who stands out in a crowd and will make a name for themselves.
Our individualistic culture has created an expectation of personalization. We want to be catered to and served, paid attention to and wooed.
We have been told that we have the strength and power to handle anything.
The message of the Kingdom is a message of community, where millions of individuals belong to each other in eternal relationship, where their own unique strengths are used for the benefit of others, not the benefit of self; a contrary message to the culture of individualism we find in the world.
When individuality enters the Kingdom, people start to dictate preferences and desires, they desire to be catered to and served.
They are inclined to think first about themselves and second about others. In the absence of this form of individuality, we find a Kingdom where the identity of Jesus takes primary place, where he becomes the most important individual and his followers strive to model his ministry and life with the gifts they’ve been given, serving one another and their neighbor.
The Kingdom of God is incredibly resilient. It tolerates much and withstands more.
It’s easy to identify the obvious sins of culture that pose great threats, but it may be the more subtle norms of culture that will yield the greatest damage to the work of the church. Being aware and alert to our own accommodation of these sins may make us more sensitive to the beauty of the Kingdom and just how different the Kingdom really is from the world.
This post was taken from a post by Rich Little. For the original post, go to: http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/174144-rich-little-overlook-these-5-cultural-norms-that-threaten-to-crush-the-church.html?p=1