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The Shifting Narrative of Culture (Part 2)

The Shifting Narrative of Culture (Part 2)

JUNE 21, 2022  |  8 MINUTE LISTEN

Listen on Spotify, Apple, and Google.

Episode Overview

As we journey with the next generation, we’re praying that they find their truest form of self in Christ. Jesus and the Apostle Paul tell us this throughout the New Testament, that the only way to find who we truly are is in Him. How can we help the next generation live into who they were made to be? Join us on this episode as we pray over our unique identity found in Christ.

Read the Script


Welcome to
The Approach. This is one of our prayer habit episodes where we pause our normal rhythm and pray over our topic for the month. My name is Connor Owen, and I am on staff at World Gospel Mission.  

A couple weeks ago, we sat down with Steve DeNeff, the lead pastor at College Wesleyan Church. It was a rich conversation about culture and how throughout all of humanity, sin has plagued us…it just looks different in each generation. There was one part of the conversation that really stuck with me, and maybe you, too, where really zeroed in on the fact that we have to be sure our identity is rooted in Christ 

Sometimes, Christ is used on a quest of self-discovery, and we’re using Jesus as a tool in that journey. Pastor Steve even said that “if you keep looking for yourself, you will lose yourself.” Well, really, he’s quoting Paul here.  

When we step into Christ’s life, Paul tells us that “The new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV).  

I want to read Paul’s words just once more over you and give the words time to sink in. 

“If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come.” 

“The old has gone.” 

“The new is here!”  

Steve talked a little bit about how we all begin to have conversations with ourselves and listen to our own, what some call, inner man. It’s that part of ourselves that we let run wild, unchecked by God. We begin inflating our ego, justifying our actions, and soon, we see no wrong in what we’re doing.  

Of course, the problem here is that, as Steve said, it’s unbecoming of who Christ made us to be. When God created you…yes, you, and yes, me…He had a distinct and unique image of who He wanted you and me to be. And every time we sin, or every time we let culture or our ego tell us how to behave, it’s like we’re taking a Sharpie and coloring over the distinct and unique picture He created.  

Let’s think about the next generation. This is your kids, your grandkids, students, athletes, youth group, or whoever in your life is the next generation. What, for them, is unbecoming of who Christ made them to be? Maybe they’re constantly wondering what others think of them on social media; maybe they’re hyper competitive in their sports and don’t win or lose gracefully. Take some time to think about this. 

So, we’ve thought about what’s unbecoming. The opposite of that is who we are in Christ. As Steve said, it’s that picture Christ made of you. It’s a perfect image, it’s without blemish or fault. The journey of any Christian who is rooted in Christ is the restoration of who God made them to be. It’s a journey toward being fully restored to God and to whom God made them to be.  

Think of it this way. What happens if your smartphone isn’t acting right? It’s run out of memory; it’s no longer doing the things you want it do. It’s no longer becoming of what the manufacturer made it to be. What do you do?  

Well, it’s a bit painful, because you might lose some apps or photos or messages you thought were valuable. But even knowing that, you still do it. You factory reset your phone 

And when you do this, your phone goes back to what it was designed to be. Now, it operates smoothly, it runs apps, and does what it was designed to do. But, most likely, you lost some apps. Or maybe it’s apps that stream music or videos in…less than legal ways. However, it was that app that ruined your phone. It was that app that made your phone unbecoming of what it was meant to be.  

Now, thinking about your Gen Zer, how can you help them restore the image of God inside of themselves? Like we talked about earlier, maybe they’re worried about what others think of them on social media or are too competitive in their sports and aren’t winning or losing gracefully. Whatever it is, how could you help remove or shave away some of those habits? And, before I go further, it’s not in a way of condemnation or shaming…but we’re doing all of this in love. Ask God to give you wisdom as you do this.  

As we walk with the next generation or those around us, we’re journeying with them so that they can be made new. The image of God inside of them is restored; they are full of love; they have removed their sinful habits; and they love God and their neighbor. As someone who is made new, the believer is walking as Jesus walked; they are emptying themselves and are full of a love that seeks the betterment of the other. And their heart is not curved in on itself but is curved outward toward others.  

This reminds me again of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5, and that’s where we’re going to end our time today.  

2 Corinthians 5:14–17 

Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. 

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 

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