Fresh Hope – 9th May 2019

What one demographic or culture finds appealing and praise-worthy, another finds repulsive. What one culture finds attractive and worth attaining, another finds very unattractive and not a priority. 

You very easily begin to prioritise what the culture you are in prioritises. 

I can first hand testify to this idea having moved from one country/cultural climate to another. Things that were a high-priority in my home country aren’t necessary on the radar for much of the culture here, and vice versa. 

I’ve seen the same in sub-cultures too. What my church values and upholds, is very different to what my office at work upholds. Both have entirely different priorities. 

Depending on who I imitate, will determine the culture I cultivate:

1. We imitate those close to us. We pick up habits from those around us. One groundbreaking study tracked twelve thousand people for 32 years and found that a person’s chance of becoming obese increased by 57% if he or she had a friend who became obese. The Bible warns us that our social environment has an automatic and invisible pull on us – taking us in their direction. (1 Corinthians 5:33). 

2. We imitate the many. Many studies and social experiments have proven that in an effort to conform to social norms and be accepted by the majority, people will deny what they know deep down is right under the weight of peer pressure telling you it’s wrong. There is tremendous internal pressure to comply with the unspoken rules of your group/culture. Most often, humans would rather be wrong to themselves in order to be right by the crowd. Running against the grain of culture is hard work, it contradicts our nature.

3. We imitate the powerful. We subconsciously scan our environments looking for the most powerful and influential leader. We copy the behaviour of successful people because we want to be successful ourselves. 

All this to say, whom are we allowing to set-up our internal culture? Who are we allowing in? Who are we imitating? We may not be able to control who we work with, but we can certainly control their influence in our lives and the culture which we give in to. When we become consciously aware of who is close to us, who the main-crowd is in our lives, and who we have made powerful, we can become more intentional about who we let shape us! 

If you feel you are alone in your values, be sure to belong to a tribe where your personal quest isn’t just a lonely journey, find a tribe who can walk it out with you. Find friendship and community that reinforces your true identity! Not the cultural norm, but the cultural right!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.