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Culture at Our Fingertips (Redeeming Culture, Part 6)

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10.31

Engaging culture

The idea of redeeming culture can be somewhat daunting. We may perhaps think of culture in terms that are so broad and complex that the idea of changing culture or redeeming it for the glory of God seems quite beyond the scope of our abilities.

But if we keep in mind that culture is nothing more than the artifacts, institutions, and conventions by which people define, sustain, and enrich their lives, taking on the task of redeeming culture becomes rather more manageable

After all, every one of us, every day of our lives, is engaged in culture. We have culture virtually at our fingertips every moment of every day. The question we must seek to work out in all our cultural activities is, “How can I use this culture in such a way as to glorify God Who gave it to me?”

Signaling the world

Paul says “whatever you do” – even down to such everyday things as taking a meal – do it in order to glorify God.

Apparently there are ways of using culture – our table manners, language, style of dress, way of working, how we drive our car and care for our homes, the use we make of TV and films, the emails we write, the phone calls in which we become involved, and all the rest of our culture – there are ways of using such everyday things that will allow us to signal to the world around us that we are aware of an obligation in such cultural activities that extends beyond our own puny selfish interests.

We seek the glory of God in our use of culture.


Paul provides a few guidelines in the verses that follow our text.

We glorify God in our lives when we try to “give no offense” to others in the way we use culture (v. 32). We need to be conscious of the people around us and sensitive to their needs and concerns. Our use of culture should not become a cause for them to take offense at the ways we engage our cultural activities.

Instead, Paul says we should “try to please everyone” in the things we do (v. 33). This doesn’t mean that we become “people-pleasers” rather than pleasers of God. It simply means that, in our use of culture, we’re intentionally thinking about ways to do good to others. We strive for excellence, efficiency, and a joyful disposition in all our cultural activities. We don’t enter into cultural activities merely for our own enrichment, but we’re part of a community, a family, a neighborhood, a staff, or a team, and we have to seek their wellbeing and edification in all we do.

Paul also seems to indicate that our use of culture should reflect our primary concern for communicating the Gospel to the people around us. As far as possible, in all our cultural activities, we should strive to improve the experience of salvation of our Christian friends and to encourage our unsaved neighbors to consider the promises of the Gospel for their own lives (v. 33).

Finally, Paul tells us simple to “be imitators” of him, as he was an imitator of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 11.1). Paul was a man with a mission, and he saw everything he did from that perspective and with that emphasis. He made the best use of his time; invested his speech in reaching others for Christ and building up the saints in the life of faith; avoided anything that might cause others to stumble; used his resources and cultural skills for the benefit of others; and sought the progress of the Kingdom at all times. If we follow the example of Paul, it’s a pretty good bet that our cultural activities will become more focused and more fruitful for the cause of Christ.

It is possible for us, in all our involvement with culture, to bring glory to God, to declare and demonstrate to the people around us that we are committed to a realm of truth, beauty, and goodness which transcends the bounds of the secular and relativist order. And if we can learn to use culture like this, then we’ll be well on our well to redeeming whole segments of culture for the purposes of Christ and His Kingdom.

Next steps

Would you say that you are following Paul’s guidelines in all your cultural activities? Can you see any area where you can begin to improve? What might you do differently? Talk with a Christian friend about these questions.

Additional Resources

Download this week’s study, Redeeming Culture.

Sign up for ViewPoint Leaders Training and start your own ViewPoint discussion group.

Want to go a little deeper with culture? Order T. M.’s book, Christians on the Front Lines of the Culture Wars from our online store.

Men, download our free brief paper, “Men of the Church: A Solemn Warning,” by clicking here.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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