I’ve learned that a big part of changing culture is changing the language. Before Starbucks came on the scene in the 90’s coffee was basically, well ... just coffee. People liked it and ordered it often, but it was pretty simple, and really cheap. You could get a coffee black, or a coffee with cream, or you could get really daring and add sugar. I remember as a kid hearing people order a double, double. That meant double cream and double sugar. After all, who really needs their arteries anyway?
Along comes Mr. Schultz with his Starbucks brand and a whole new language for coffee. People are introduced to Caffe Americano, Pike Place roast, Cappuccino, Espresso, and every shade of Latte that you might want to paint your walls with. Still that was just the beginning of the language change. We did away with small, medium, and large, and replaced it with Short, Tall, Grande, and Venti. Venti? What? Oh, ya baby! With the new cultural revolution we were now educated into a greater tolerance for price-pain. Before a coffee was what McDonald’s set it at - around a buck or so. Now we’re excited to get off the premises with two tall drinks and only eight dollars in damage. Of course that’s all before you tip.
The language shift was part of the cultural revolution. Its changed your expectations for a coffee house. You even have new expectations for yourself. You’d never admit you want sugar in your drink today. Now it’s politically correct to ask for one or two pumps, and obviously less of an indictment. It even sounds less sugary and more athletic.
Parents who care about their children’s destiny are acutely aware of the language used around them. They know it’s authoring their thought process, and therefore the outcome of their future. You don’t have to go very far to find statistics on the difference between children exposed to positive or negative talk, truthful or deceitful communication, affirmative or abusive language. Yes, every home or family has a dialect that would be considered their mother tongue, but I’m talking about the content of what is being transferred through that language.
I was speaking at a conference in Italy a short while ago and at the end of my talk I asked the audience who would like to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Many put up their hands. I led them in a prayer, through my interpreter, and then closed out the session. Afterwards an older Italian man came up to me, bowed his head and began to cry kissing my hand over and over. I didn’t understand a word he was saying, but I felt a deep gratitude and appreciation coming from him. For several minutes this went on without me knowing what to do because the man was so passionate and pouring out his heart profusely. Finally, my interpreter caught up with us and began to convey the man’s overwhelming thankfulness to God, and for me, His messenger. He had lived a life in deep religious bondage, always feeling rejected by God and condemned. Today for the first time he prayed with me the prayer and made Jesus his Lord and Savior. He could not express enough how free and filled with joy he was. He wanted to express his humility and thankfulness. All he had were his Italian words and kisses to my hand. The message of the Gospel had given him a cultural rewrite. Instead of condemnation he had revelation.
To say you believe in Jesus but refuse to know His language is to live deceived. The King has come with a whole new language of Truth, and it is the principal of His Kingdom. Notice Jesus never said seek Me first. Jesus never said seek first love. Jesus never said that you will know love and love will make you free. He said in John 8:32 “You will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.” If you don’t know the language of Truth, then how will you identify the difference between tall, grande, or venti love? Feelings? Never. Truth is the only real measurement.
Jesus has come to deliver you from worldly cycles of brokenness that you’re trapped in and give you new life. How does He do that? He brings you into His culture of Kingdom life. In God’s Kingdom there is a new language to compliment His culture. John 1:1 says “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Learn the language of Heaven now. It’s the Bible, God’s Word. Memorize the written part of it, but learn the spirit of it. Quit trying to change the world and let the Word change you.
Precious Heavenly Father I repent. That means, I’m submitting my thinking to Your Word and ready to be transformed by the renewing of my mind. I don’t want to live a life conforming to the world’s broken cultures. I want my life to be Your canvas here on earth proving what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of Yours. I am Your workmanship, recreated in Christ Jesus unto good works which you have already preordained. Download Your language of life into my heart and help me to be a communicator of Your peace and goodness. In Jesus’ Name ... Amen.
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