Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Conformist Christian

In a previous post I talked about how the American church has been a troubling trend conforming more and more to the world.  Today, I want to talk about the individual Christian and how we far too often conform to the world as well. I want to talk about how we want to be liked by our peers rather than approved by God.  God wants us to allow Him to transform us.  
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 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 12:1-2 NKJV
The command is simple, do not conform yourselves to the world but allow God to transform you.  Who we were in the world is not who we are anymore.  God has given us a new heart and the Holy Spirit dwells inside us.  We are not that person anymore so why pretend?  Let's look at some things that we do that are more in line with conforming ourselves to the world than to Christ.

I will start with the men. Do you brag about how many beers you will have or how "smashed" you want to get to fit in with your friends or family.  Do you use foul language and tell crude jokes because you want to fit in with your coworkers.  Are you more passionate about sports teams then you are about the Word of God.  Are you a bigger evangelist for your team then you are for the Gospel?  Are you full of bravado and pride and obsessed with making yourself appear better than others. Seriously, men, what you think is showing how "tough" you are to other men is really showing what a coward you in not standing up for righteousness.  Men, read this verse as it is written not to the world but to those in Christ.  Are you any of those things listed?
But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. 1 Corinthians 5:11 NKJV
And now I will address the women.  Do you get caught up in gossip?  Do you talk about celebrity gossip with your friends?  Tell me, do you talk more about the life of a celebrity caught up in some scandal or more about the life of Jesus?  Are you respectful of your husband among your friends?  Do you berate him and laugh at his faults with your friends?   I think one of the biggest areas in terms of women conforming to the world is how you dress. Just because the popular fashions are immodest and trend to be more and more provocative does not mean you need to be.  I am not saying women should wear a burka, but some of the things I see women wearing have no place on a daughter of the Living God.  Do you represent Christ in short shorts that read "Juicy" or something else on the butt?  Do you glorify God when you wear a bikini to the beach?  Seriously, women, how do you justify wearing a bikini?  Would you find it appropriate for you to go to the mall wearing only your underwear?  If not then how is it right to wear a bikini?  Think of Whom you represent in choosing what you wear.  Think about the image you want to portray of yourself.  People will never see your spirit if all you show them is your flesh.  Woman of God, is this who you are:
in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.  1 Timothy 2:9-10 NKJV
I realize that I used generalizations, but it was to make a point. The bottom line is that every time you forsake the way of God for the way of the world, you are conforming to the world.  We are not of the world anymore.  We are better.  We are not better because of anything we did but because of what Christ did for us. We are not better for our own sakes, but for the sake of Jesus.  We are a new creation in God.
For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.  2 Corinthians 5:14-17 NKJV 
Yesterday, I posted on parents being role models to their children.  As a Christian, though, you are a role model to the world.  Yes the world will reject and persecute you for living your faith.  They may joke if you say you do not want to go out drinking or they may look at you funny when you step away from a gossip-filled conversation.  They may ridicule you if you tell them about what Jesus has done for you.  All that is not important, though.  What's important is that despite all that the world will see Jesus in you and that will be a witness and a testimony to His power.  God has given us that calling.  He has called us the light and salt of the earth.  For all our faults, God has entrusted us to be His ambassadors.  Be that light and salt.  The seeds you plant today may be what God uses for their salvation in the future.  You can momentarily impress friends with your flesh, but you can gain eternally grateful brothers and sisters with the Spirit of Jesus shining through you.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. ou are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.  Mathew 5:10-16 NKJV

3 comments:

  1. This is great...."People will never see your spirit if all you show them is your flesh"!

    I pray that you never loose this boldness to preach His Word!

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  2. Good word Ben. Keep encouraging the church to be that light we were called to be. We can make a difference for Jesus.

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