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For I decided to be concerned about nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2)

The clouds below looked like cotton balls. Perhaps if our team jumped from the airplane, we’d only bounce. We were flying home from a missions trip in Hungary. Staring out the window, I was in the same spiritual funk I had experienced after my previous twenty-five foreign trips. We hadn’t changed the people. Our leaders had changed, the teens in our group matured, but we hadn’t penetrated the hearts of Eastern Europeans. We’d bounced.

At the beginning of the trip, on the flight across the Atlantic, I’d held a different attitude. I’d assumed I had much to give. After all, I had a heritage of spiritual freedom, years of biblical exposition, and cutting edge technology. In a word, I had pride—the sworn enemy of the Gospel.

Staring into the clouds after that twenty-sixth trip, I realized my way of living is no more significant than others. Affluence doesn’t equate to fulfillment. In fact, in the qualities of life that truly matter—trust, relationship, love—I lag behind.

My culture—the way I eat, speak, dress, even the way I worship—is nothing but a glass that holds the water of truth. The glass is not the truth, it’s merely the culture through which I hold and view truth. A cultural glass of some shape and coloration is necessary, but pride in that culture will disappear as I’m filled with truth.

The only pure culture exists in heaven, where God’s will is done in full. And the only mission that brought real cultural help was when Jesus came into our world. He is the water in the glass. What I take to others should be pure Jesus Christ. All the rest is useless cultural bias.

Prayer: Jesus of heaven, cleanse me of blind cultural pride.