TO CHEW ON: "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." - Romans 12:2
Two words jump out at me from the above verse: Conformed and Transformed.
[Conformed: suschematizo: Compare to "schema" and "schematic." It refers to conforming oneself to the outer fashion or outward appearance, accommodating oneself to a model or pattern....Even apparent or superficial conformity to the present world system or any accommodation to its ways would be fatal to the Christian life" - New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1569.]
I can think of at least three levels of relationship where we are tempted to conform.
1. We are tempted to conform to the world and its systems. We should resist conforming to aspects of society that are against what the Bible teaches. The society in which I live, for example, is pro-abortion and has reinvented the definition of marriage. There is great pressure on Canadian citizens (by the media and forces of political correctness) to conform and get with the program in these areas — and others.
2. We will be tempted to conform when we are with our non-Christian friends. Do you ever find you edit yourself when you are with yours? Leaving out things that you would share freely with fellow Christians may not always be a bad thing. However, it may be a symptom of you conforming to expectations of your non-believing friends because you fear they will think you're weird or fanatical.
3. We may even be tempted to conform when we are with fellow Christians. Sam Storms in his testimony in the "Why I am / not a Charismatic" series on the Credo House Ministries blog (accessed in 2011*) describes the peer pressure he felt from fellow believers after he experienced praying in tongues when he was a teenager. He concludes:
"My early opposition to spiritual gifts was also energized by fear .... the fear of rejection by those whose respect I cherished and whose friendship I did not want to forfeit; .... the fear of losing what little status in the evangelical community my hard work had attained."
So how do we resist conformity to the world wherever it raises its head? By being "transformed by the renewing of your mind."
And how do we renew our minds? One way is to soak them in God's word. As Joyce Meyer puts it: "....we must know the Word of God well enough to be able to compare what is in our minds [and, I would add, able to recognize and compare the thinking that is behind those outside ideas and forces that tempt us to conform to them] with what is in the mind of God" - Battlefield of the Mind, p. 4.
PRAYER: Dear God, please alert me to areas where I am tempted to be conformed to this world, regardless of how subtle. Please transform my mind as I yield myself to You and give Your words the final say in my life. Amen.
*Though I can no longer find Storms' quoted article online, he talks about the same fear on his blog: "Are Miraculous Gifts For Today - Part II" (under point 6.)
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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