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Years ago, a story circulated that missionaries in a foreign country insisted a church building must be square even though local people wanted it round. True or not, it illustrates how our culture can be mistaken for kingdom values. Undue cultural pride may demand others adopt our culture in order for us to respect them. Yet the distinguishing marks of God’s people should come from Jesus Christ and our desire to honor and obey Him. The Apostle Peter wrote this about the Christian’s identity in 1 Peter 2: “You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. ‘Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.’ Dear friends, I warn you as ‘temporary residents and foreigners’ to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior.” Peter stressed that our lifestyle should be patterned after Christ’s teaching, not after the cultural values in our society.

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