“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” 
Jesus, to his followers and the crowd
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” 
The Apostle Paul to followers of Jesus located throughout Rome
What’s the boldest act you have ever done? Now, I realize you probably need a few moments to ponder this question and search through your hard drive.
Was it standing up to a bully?
Asking that special one you felt was “out of your league” for a date?
Making a risky investment?
How about traveling to a foreign country by yourself?
Or perhaps becoming a foster parent or adopting a child?
To ensure we are all on the same page, let’s look at a dictionary definition of bold.
“not hesitating or fearful in the face of actual or possible danger or rebuff; courageous and daring.” 
One of my boldest acts ever happened when I was dating my wife. She grew up in a small community along the shore of the Suwannee River in North Central Florida. We often spent time together in a small boat, canoe, or in a kayak paddling down this historic Florida river. Her older brother had told me that when his sister was a teenager, she had walked across the river on a gas pipeline that spanned from shore to shore about thirty feet above the river. He said that if I were courageous enough to walk across the same pipeline, this act of courage would surely impress his little sister! That’s all I needed to hear!
So, the next time Cindy and I were on the river; we eventually came upon the pipeline above us. I believe her Daddy was with us, so I was sure this would make a powerful impact upon both of them if I had the courage to walk across it! Without announcing my intentions, I paddled the kayak to the shore, climbed up the steep embankment, and put my bare feet on this sunbaked metal pipeline. My journey started near ground level, so it wasn’t a big thing, but as I began to walk above the river, it was a different story! What seemed doable from below took on a different feeling from above. But I was now committed. I had two choices. I could turn back in embarrassment and fear, or I could continue toward the other shore with boldness, courage, and trust that I could complete my objective.
You who have followed closely throughout these previous examples of characteristics of a disciple may have noticed that all of the contributing writers have used Jesus as the perfect example of each element. And rightly so. Jesus taught that “A disciple is not above his teacher. But when that disciple is fully trained, he will become like his teacher.” He is the One we are to imitate as we follow him. As we zero in on this characteristic of bold, countercultural living, we find Jesus again modeling his boldness, courage, and unwavering resolve throughout the New Testament.
What do we mean by countercultural living? For the sake of this article, living a countercultural life means one’s life is boldly driven by a set of distinctly divine attitudes, ideas, perspectives, and values modeled by Jesus and those who followed him in allegiance and obedience. This way of life will often be completely different from the rest of mainstream society and its culture. If anyone lived counter to or different from his current historical and religious culture, it was Jesus.
Let’s briefly examine how Jesus and his disciples modeled a bold countercultural lifestyle.
In Matthew’s account of the gospel, chapters five through seven, we find some of the highest concentrations of countercultural teachings. Yes, this section is known as The Sermon on the Mount. Jesus tells his audience that God blesses those…
…who are poor in spirit; who mourn; who are humble; who hunger and thirst for justice; who are merciful; whose hearts are pure; who work for peace; who are persecuted for doing right; who are mocked, insulted, accused of evil deeds and lied about because of their allegiance to Jesus and his teachings.
Amid this countercultural way of life, with all the hardship that will come to those who live out these characteristics, Jesus exhorts them to celebrate and be filled with joy! Why? Because their reward will be great in heaven! Jesus closes out this section by reminding them his prophets, who spoke and lived counter to their own culture, were treated the same way.
And here’s the deal. Jesus boldly pursued the Kingdom of God above everything else: above revenging those who persecuted him, lied about him, and wanted him put to death; above his reputation; and above his comfort. He boldly loved those who believed in him and followed him but also those who hated him, denied him, betrayed him, spit on him, hit him, mocked him, whipped the flesh off his back, and those who crucified him. Jesus not only taught this kind of a lifestyle; he lived it out in 16K UHD living color for everyone to see! These words, which Jesus spoke over 2,000 years ago on a hillside to a large crowd in northern Galilee, are just as valid for us today as it was for them.
In addition to the above examples, Jesus gave dignity and respect to women and children, contrary to the Hebraic culture of the 1st Century. Even his own disciples had difficulty understanding the values of their Rabbi! Jesus made it clear that he came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many others. Jesus didn’t allow the proud and power-seeking culture to derail him from revealing God’s heart, character, and will to the very creatures he had created in his image. Jesus was willing to lay aside the privileges of his deity, take the status of a slave, embrace humanity with all of its limitations and weaknesses, and in obedience to his Father’s will, suffer the crucifixion to pay for our sins and deliver us from the domain of darkness.
It is quite easy to allow the culture of the day to cause us to drift off course from following the narrow road of a life fixed on the model and teachings of Jesus. We want others to like and admire us for being relevant to our culture. Going against our culture’s flow can bring a wave of hostile rejection. But, as Jesus tells us in the Beatitudes, we should expect opposition and ridicule, even various forms of persecution. As Stanley Hauerwas and Will Wilimon put it, “whenever a people are bound together in loyalty to a story that includes something as strange as the Sermon on the Mount, we are put at odds with the world.” But despite the reality of the consequences, we must become, as Tim Keller puts it, “a counterculture for the common good.”
What might this look like in your mission of revealing the character of Jesus in your everyday, ordinary life to those around you? It could be as simple as beginning to pray for your enemies, asking God to give you his love so that you could truly love them and want God’s best for them. It might be taking the first step toward genuine forgiveness toward someone who has deeply hurt you. You might even consider laying aside your position and reputation and serve someone you know that is in deep need. And yes, it may cost you not only your time but there might be a financial investment as well. Even though there are risks, remember, this world and its values are not our home. The Apostle Peter puts it this way:
“Dear friends, I urge you as foreigners and exiles to keep away from fleshly desires that do battle against the soul, and maintain good conduct among the non-Christians, so that though they now malign you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God when he appears.”
Peter to the followers of Jesus scattered throughout Asia
In what ways are you living counter to the self-centered, power-hungry culture you find yourself in these days? Humbling yourself and modeling the ways of Jesus may seem as scary as walking across a pipeline three stories above a river. The good news is that he promised to be with us each step of the way.
By the way, I did make it across that pipeline to the other side of the river that day. Little did I realize that in the years ahead, Jesus would call and challenge me to cross over multiple deeply entrenched cultural and religious values that would bring resistance and opposition. Each has seemed much harder than crossing over the Suwannee River on that hot summer day. Sometimes I tend to shy away from following his desires. I imagine you will too. But when we think about the reward and the joy that our obedience brings to our Father and others, it’s more than worth the bold risk. It’s all a part of the maturity process of becoming more like Jesus.
This post originally appeared at: Boldly Living Counter to One’s Cultural Values — The Bonhoeffer Project
 New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update Matthew 6:31–33.
 Eugene H. Peterson, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language Romans 12:1–2.
 Luke 6:40
 Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45
 John 1:18; 17:6, 8, 26
 Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 1:13
 Center Church: Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City
 Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible (Second Edition.; Denmark: Thomas Nelson, 2019), 1 Pe 2:11–12.
 Matthew 28:20