Subsume your cultural identity to your relationship with God.
How Culture Forms Identity
Very often people divide themselves along cultural lines. It usually works like this: First I realize that I am born into a particular culture. That means I do things like this, like that and not like that. This culture, as we have discussed before, is my wall. This culture helps to define my identity. To further cement this identity, I find other people who think like me and act like me and I form a community with them. They essentially become, in a sense, my church. Every culture comes with a mentality or approach to engaging the world because of how they see themselves in it. Some cultures, have through a lot of oppression from other cultures, acquired an “us against the world” mentality. This mentality is a part of their cultural identity. Some cultures through oppression of other cultures have acquired a mentality of superiority.
What then does this mean for a Christian who is also a part of a culture? For example, what does it mean to be a Christian who is also Yoruba? Or a Christian athlete? Or a Christian artist and so on and so on? Athletes generally have to behave one way and sometimes their Christianity may conflict with their behavior in the athlete culture. The same goes for scientists and artists and so on. As you can see, there appears to be a conflict. Is it true then that you have to choose your Christianity or your culture?
Christian > Culture
There is a conflict between my relationship with God and all other things that strive to be the root of my identity. But it is not a zero sum game where God wins and your culture has to go and vice versa. Instead, it is a lordship, king of the hill kind of game. It is not that I must choose to be a Christian or an athlete. It is that I must choose to be a Christian first before I choose to be anything else. My relationship with God always has to come first. Let us remember that all cultures, ideologies and other sources of identity not submitted to God will fail. When they fail, the person who has founded his identity on these things will be swept away
If you are a Christian and you are striving to make your relationship with God the source of your identity then submission to God is your central goal
How It Can Play Out
Consider if a black Christian met a white Christian. They’re both believers in the Lord but there is a history of overt and subtle oppression between their two cultures. Yet they are both first and foremost Christian. What does this mean? Well God orders us to bear one another’s burdens, to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice
Through patience and love, both will reaffirm to each other that they are new creatures in Christ
After all, the most important thing is not to be white or to be black but to be Christian through relationship with God