Thursday, December 4, 2008

Be not conformed

Rom. 12:2a And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
Paul's epistle to the church at Rome is an extraordinary book and one of the easiest to categorize. Rom. 1:1 - 3:20 is showing us the necessity of salvation for all men everywhere, 3:21 - 4:25 tells us that God provides righteousness to those who trust Jesus Christ as Lord, we see in chapters 5 - 8 that salvation produces a new life, 9 - 11 teaches us that God is faithful to perform all his word, and then chapters 12 - 16 call all regenerated hearts to a completely changed way of life. Paul basically summarizes these final four chapters in 12:1, 2, verse two being our focus this week.
There has been a question that has been bugging me for quite a while now and it is, why do so many, so-called christians, look so much like the rest of the world around them? If you pulled the average church goer out of their pew and examined every aspect of their life during the week, what would be the distinctive factors about their life that would show us clearly that their entire world view has been turned up-side down? With this thought in mind I have been examining my own life, do I listen to music other than that which directly glorifies the Lord and if I do, then why? What about my dress, is it always chosen with the thought of modesty, moderation and presentability in mind, so that I might be the best witness possible to the greatest number of people? Or do I choose it to draw attention to myself or for the purpose of looking "cool"? What about my choice of the video games I play and movies and TV shows I choose to spend my time watching, is there a purpose in any of them higher than pure entertainment, (which is complete selfishness and self-absorption)? Going deeper than things, I must also examine my speech, do I speak many vain and empty words just to hear myself talking? Or perhaps filled with pride I speak with the intent of being quick, sharp and witty instead of being complimentary, encouraging and teachable.
You see, it is not just about being different for differences sake, I don't stop driving a car because the rest of the world drives a car. My main purpose in life is not to be different, my highest goal is to be like Christ and if I'm acting like Christ than I most certainly will be different; because our culture is at enmity with God and therefore the things that pertain to God and godliness. I have not yet worked out all the kinks in my life, but I assure you that I am working on it and will continue to work on it for as long as I'm alive. I often wonder though, am I the only one that is so sick of all this hypocrisy, am I the only one that is tired of "playing church"? I know I am not, but if you too are tired of all the pretense than don't quit going to church because it seems as if everyone there is a hypocrite, begin reforming your own life and pray that with much love and mercy God would begin to change the hearts of those around you. We must make a choice, will we live godly and suffer persecution (II Tim. 3:12) or will we conform to the world and get society's collective pat on the back. It is one or the other, we cannot have the approval of God and society, friendship with one equals enmity with the other, conformity to one must necessarily mean a distinct difference from the other.

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