Confronting American Culture to Build Kingdom Culture
Lately, I keep hearing the Lord calling me to come up the mountain and spend extended times of praying and fasting with him. An inner voice of the Holy Spirit calling me to a deeper relationship with the Lord in order for me to die so He can live.
As I have reflecting on this inner pull, I cannot help but think about Moses’ call to Mount Sinai to fast and pray for 40 days and 40 nights. I began to wonder and question why? Why did Moses fast 40 days and 40 nights? Fasting is not a command in the bible, nor do we see every character in the Bible doing it. However, Moses is called up Mount Sinai twice to spend extended times of prayer and fasting with God.
A Call to Die
Among the many reasons, I believe one is because Moses had to die in order for him to hear God' voice clearly. Moses was raised in Egypt in the house of Pharaoh. One can imagine how strongly his upbringing in Egypt and being raised in a palace impacted his way of thinking and life. It seems to me that God needed Moses to detox from the worldly (Egyptian/royal) way of thinking so that he could build God’s Kingdom.
American Culture or Kingdom Culture?
By this, I am realizing that many of us do not realize how the culture we have been raised in impacts our way of viewing God and His Kingdom. I am a Korean-American. Ethnically Korean, nationally American. I used to serve at a 1st Generation Korean church here in Southern California. Sometimes, I would see the decisions that the elders and pastors would make and I would think to myself, “This decision is more Korean than it is Christian,” However, the more I think about it, I can’t imagine how many of the decisions I make is more “American” than it is Christian. I don’t think I fully realize how much my upbringing and culture impacts the way I see God, His Kingdom and the Church.
This is one of the reasons why I think Moses had to pray and fast. Moses had to pray and fast for 40 days and nights so that he could clean and rid his heart of all worldly and carnal ways of thinking. In order for Moses to truly build God’s Kingdom, his personal kingdom and agenda had to be ripped out of his soul. God did not want Moses to lead a nation with the Egyptian way of thinking but rather, God's way.
Personally for me, I cannot help but find myself in wanting to brand, market and promote my personal ministry rather than His Kingdom. In my heart I think I am truly living for God’s glory but then certain reactions from my heart reveal that I am prone to promote my own agenda. I started to pray and ask myself why am I so inclined to do this. It’s as if it is second nature to me. Then I realized, it’s the culture that I have been raised in. Not only my American culture, but even the American-Christian culture. Brand yourself, market yourself, get yourself and your ministry out there so that you can be bold and courageous. However, in the deepest places of my soul I hear the Lord telling me, “Hide yourself, you must become less so that I can become all.”
I feel as if this is going to be a lifelong battle for me and many Christians in the 21st century. Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?" That's my heart and your heart. Apart from the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit our hearts are sick. It is constantly looking to feed itself with selfish gain. This is why I believe the battle to live purely to lift His name is going to be a life-time goal and not a one time decision. O Lord, help us to die so that You may live! Be magnified and glorified above all things.