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Watch Out for Cultural Contamination

Stay alert — Don’t be controlled by the culture around you

Doug Britton, MFT

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Summary: We are influenced by our culture and bad role models more than we realize. This Bible study gives advice on living in an ungodly culture and choosing positive role models. Ask God to help you evaluate what influences you and then declare independence from an impure culture.

Cultural contamination (or “cultural pollution”)

(This printable online Bible study is adapted from Defeating Temptation: Biblical Secrets to Self-Control)

Many people worry about pollution that impacts our environment. Although we should be concerned about this, we should be more alarmed by the way we are polluted by our culture.

Throughout the Bible, we are cautioned about the way ungodly cultures tempt us to sin. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were warned not to adopt the practices of those around them (Leviticus 18:1-5 and Deuteronomy 18:9-14). In the New Testament, James wrote that we should avoid “being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).

Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)

We are more influenced by our culture than we realize. We embrace the world’s propaganda and become ineffective as God’s ambassadors. We accept lies and compromise our witness without knowing it. We try to fit into our culture instead of influencing our culture.

As you read this Bible study, ask God to show you any changes you should make. You are a branch in Christ’s tree and God is the gardener. Let him prune you of any ways the world has corrupted you.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. (John 15:1-2)

Evaluate what influences you

We are assaulted by non-Christian opinions and often adopt them as our own without realizing it. Learn to carefully evaluate everything you see, read, or hear.

Ask yourself these questions when evaluating a specific activity:

  1. How does it match up to the Bible?
  2. Would Jesus be pleased by it?
  3. Does it encourage me to draw closer to God?
  4. Is it possible it might lead to sinful thoughts or actions?
  5. Does it push me away from God?

Personal application

What are the major non-Christian influences in your life?

Evaluate their effect on you using the above five questions.

Declare independence from an impure culture

It’s hard not to be influenced by ungodly voices in our culture, since they are always around us. To break free, we must realize that our citizenship is in heaven, and that God’s values and truths are all that matter.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. (2 Corinthians 6:17)

Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:19-20)

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. (1 Peter 2:11)

The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:17)

Personal application

What are some ways your culture pollutes you?

Write a prayer asking God to help you be aware of the way your culture influences you negatively. Also ask him to help you be free from these influences.

Choose godly role models

Rock stars, famous athletes, movie actors and TV personalities often are our heroes or role models, yet many of them provide poor examples of morals, ethics and faith. We should follow, instead, the examples of people of genuine faith and of Christ himself.

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. (Philippians 3:17)

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. (1 Peter 2:21)

Personal application

Write the names of your heroes or role models.

  • Who are your heroes? How do their examples affect you?
  • Who are some people whose examples you would like to follow?
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About Doug Britton, MFT

Doug Britton, Bible-based Marriage and Family Therapist, has helped hundreds of thousands of people as a therapist, clinical director of a treatment center, seminar speaker, radio cohost, and author of over twenty books that show how to apply God's truths in your daily life. (Visit www.dougbrittonbooks.com.)

Copyright © 2020 Doug Britton. Permission granted to print for personal use. (Scripture verses are from the New International Version, copyright © 1984.) See reprint policy.

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