Christ Beyond Culture By TaJuanda Michelle
I was recently reflecting on the beauty of God in a person’s life, regardless of what culture they identify with. As an African American, there is so much to learn about Jesus and how he breaks the chains of culture and moves beyond some of the cultural limitations we have adopted. Jesus does this glorious thing with the unity of the spirit and brings us together as sisters and brothers. It’s beautiful! No longer is the focus “culture,” but our identity becomes driven by Christ and God’s presence. In God’s presence, standing on holy ground moves us forward and gives us new life. If you take modern day music for an example, as a true worshipper, I find myself worshipping to the music of Kari Jobe and Meridith Andrews not because of culture but because of the God who reconciles us and has made us for these times. We don’t glorify culture, but rather one God who has drawn us nearer to Him by the power of His dear son Jesus.
My African American roots have been shorted of the richness of grace, but the joint heir ship in Christ has all the grace for my life and others. Jesus moves beyond some of the cultural struggles, and gives grace to all. 1 Peter 5:10-11 says, “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” It’s powerful. With that, I hope to share the gospel with those who are not only African American, but all people. When they decide to accept Jesus I can stand back and watch God at work in their lives. It is not about one culture over another, but I want to hear the testimonies of those all around the world. I rejoice because Jesus died for humanity, putting everyone equal at the opportunity to receive Him, be born in His spirit and invited into His Kingdom regardless of the culture that has influenced them in their lives. This freedom in Christ breaks all cultural barriers.
I attend Greater Grace World Outreach where I can worship with people from Nepal, Finland, England, Russia and Africa. It’s the glory of God and His matchless nature at work. As an African American, it pleases me to see that we can join in worship this way. It’s something that no person can destroy, because God has made an omnipotent covenant with all. We thank Him for taking away our sins and gracefully redeeming us from issues that our cultures have encouraged us to do in confidence. What new life we have together beyond culture in Christ! I can take something back to the African Americans I know which will be blessed and eternal. This covenant supersedes any cultural identity, and it will have a ruling in our lives no matter what culture we have been influenced by.
I can recall times when people from my culture have expressed how they didn’t measure up to the amount of success of other people from other cultures, but in Christ there is a new way to go about life. Discrimination left a mark, and many felt like they had to compromise and settle for things that allow them to just get by. I am encouraged by the scripture in Romans 8:30, which affirms in my mind that cultural status does not define us, but it is Christ who defines us. Paul says, “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
Tajuanda is a Christian nonfiction writer and enjoys using the written word to share the gospel of Jesus. She is a Site Coordinator at Reading Partners where she coordinates one on one tutoring for children who need to improve in their reading and writing skills. She previously coordinated the Good News Club program at Moravia Park Elementary where she supported pastors in their mission to lead a bible club. She is an MSU Alum and former IBM Consultant in the public sector. She hopes to use her God given gifts to continue to help people and honor them.
Copyright 2015 TaJuanda Michelle and Crystal Schmalz Ministries