Something that I’ve been thinking about this week is ‘how different do I have to be, in order to be a Christian?’ How much can I fit in with the world around me and still faithfully follow Jesus with my whole heart?
In Romans 12:2 Pauls talks to the Christians living in Rome and tells them “do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind…”
The word ‘conformed’ means to contract or take the shape of. If I’m making jelly and I put it into a mould, the jelly will take the shape of the mould and set in a certain way.
Here’s one I made earlier:
Our minds are like jelly and our world is the jelly mould (bear with me on this one!). We can either slot in and allow our thoughts and beliefs to be moulded by the world, and therefore look, sound and act like everyone around us. OR we can have our thoughts and beliefs RENEWED by God’s Word and Truth, so that we are transformed beings!
So, what is ‘the world’ then? It’s the values, expectations and standards that society and culture promote as important and valuable. They’re easy to see when our minds are renewed and could be any of the following:
1. It’s all about how you look - image, clothes and ‘coolness’ are everything.
2. It’s all about who you know- you’ve got to be seen with the right people, be invited to the right parties, be associated with the right group.
3. It’s all about what you say- are you funny enough, witty enough, swear enough and sound cool enough?
4. It’s all about how experienced you are- have you kissed someone? How far have you been? Have you smoked? Have you tried drugs yet?
5. It’s all about what you achieve- you’re only as successful as your best grade, and only as clever and talented as what you can receive a certificate for.
6. It’s all about what you own- how many holidays did you have this year? How much money do your parents earn, or even will you earn one day?
These are just some of the values and standards of the world- the status quo which is so easy to want to fit into, because ultimately, we want to be liked and belong.
But God says that we aren’t going to look like the world when we follow Him. We will stand out, we will look different and we might not be liked or feel like we belong- eek! That’s a hard pill to swallow.
Ultimately, we weren’t made to look like everyone else around us. We were made for something so much more- to be transformed!
Next week I want to talk about HOW we are transformed; how we renew our minds and what God’s good, acceptable and perfect will is.