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Loving Jesus Doesn’t Mean Hating Culture

By: Heidi Charalambous

Too often, Christians are known for listening to sappy music, speaking their own language and avoiding any piece of pop culture that might create conversation in the break room on Monday morning.

Can I let you into a secret? You can love Jesus and listen to non-Christian music. You can love Jesus and host a Super Bowl party on a Sunday night.

Shielding ourselves from temptation is wise, but cutting ourselves off from the rest of humanity simply isn’t biblical. Just because something is popular doesn’t make it sinful. God is the creator of everything, and He can use the most ordinary and extraordinary aspects of everyday life to get our attention.

Embracing culture does more to spread the Gospel than avoiding it ever will.

3 Reasons Christians Can Love Jesus And Embrace Culture:

1. The Gospel meets people where they’re at.

Paul was an apostle who wrote most of the New Testament and started churches all over the Mediterranean region. In a letter to Christians in Corinth, Paul explained that his approach to telling people about Jesus varied based on who he was talking to:

“To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.  To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some" (1 Corinthians 9:20-22). 

Paul’s message never changed, but the way he related to people did.  What if the very culture you’re avoiding is what will give you an open door to tell someone about Jesus?

2. Jesus told us to love our neighbors. All of them.

When Jesus told us to love our neighbors, He didn’t say we should love the people who agree with us, who are nice to us or who vote the way we do. He told us to love our neighbors with no exceptions or exclusions (Mark 12:31).

When we love someone, we want to know everything about them. We spend time with them. We talk to them. How can we love those around us if we isolate ourselves from the culture we live in?

At some point, someone you loved and trusted told you about Jesus or invited you to church. Maybe it was your parents. Maybe it was a friend or coworker. If that person had not taken the time to get to know you, would you have listened or accepted the invitation?

3. Our job is to do whatever it takes.

If we want to reach those far from God, we must be willing to adapt our methods just like Paul did. That’s why NewSpring moves Sunday night services to Saturday on Super Bowl Sunday. Last year, nearly 50 percent of houses with a TV (more than 108 million people) tuned in to watch the Super Bowl (via Nielsen) . We’re willing to do whatever it takes so more people can hear the Gospel, including moving services to another night of the week.  

Jesus called the church “the light of the world” and “the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13-16). Christians don’t have to pretend we’re not different, because we are. But we can’t keep pretending that we don’t live in the world around us. Lives depend on it.

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