Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you”.
Everyone has a culture they were raised in and that culture speaks to you, whether you realize it or not. Your culture taught you what to value, how to deal with conflict and what you see as normal. Take someone from another culture and put them in America for 6 months to a year. Once the honeymoon of being in America wears off, they will see how their culture conflicts with American culture, because they bring their culture with them everywhere they go and so do you. Your culture cannot be separated from who you are. I lived in Malaysia for 9 years and even though there are a lot of things about Malaysia I love and will cherish the rest of my life, it is not my culture and I could not live there for the rest of my life. They do things so differently then I do and it caused me conflict every time I parked the car or drove down the road, it was a culture war I was fighting and did not realize it until many years into it. The one thing I learned, is you cannot change anyone else’s culture, only they can change their culture inside of them and only I can change the culture inside of me.
In the natural this can be easy to see if you have lived in a cross cultural marriage; had cross cultural employees or bosses; or have lived for more than a vacations stay in another culture. But everyone of us that calls ourselves Christians is in a cultural battle as well. When we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we agree to switch cultures. We declare in our profession of faith, that I am going to leave my culture and take on your culture, Jesus. The challenge is, we still have our culture inside of us, so for Americans, our culture says, divorce is an acceptable form of conflict resolution, but if you are a Christian, the Kingdom culture says, there are specific reasons to get divorced and “falling out of love” or “I can’t do this anymore” are not options given. So, what do you do, your marriage is in an intense battle, stalemate if you will, it seems as if nothing is going to change, and you feel like the only option is to get divorced. As an American this is an acceptable option, because our culture promotes this idea, but for an African from Africa, this is not an option. Their culture says, that divorce is never an option, it is actually a shameful thing. So, to an African, marriage can get hard, feel like they are at a stalemate in their communication or whatever, but the idea of divorce never crosses their mind, because their culture teaches this.
Therefore, when in a culture conflict what do you do? Christians run into culture conflicts all the time and many default to their culture of birth, meaning, if they are American they act like an American, if they are Chinese, they act like a Chinese, but the Bible says, when you are in a culture conflict, you choose the Kingdom culture. So, if you are an American and you are contemplating divorce, but you have no Biblical grounds for that decision, you can either be an American Christian or a Kingdom American. The difference is amazing. If you choose Kingdom culture over your culture of origin, you are choosing life, and the battle of your flesh begins. If you choose American culture, you take the easy way out and though it seems right in the short run, in the long run, it will be a decision that affects the rest of your life. It is time that Christians start putting Kingdom before their culture. We are to live the abundant life, and the way to do that is by being Kingdom first. If we can be Kingdom first people, we will see so many of our issues begin to fade away, yet, this will be a battle and unless you quit, you will win. We can do this, we have a King that is the head of this Kingdom and He has given us everything we need to win this war. Your sword is prayer; your attitude is humility; your shield is worship; and your goal is the advancing of the Kingdom of God in your marriage on earth. You did not marry the wrong person, your enemy is invisible, it is not your spouse, you got this, fight my friend and remember this is a battle over the Kingdom and your culture.