For four days of the last handful of days, I have been behind the wheel of a car traveling some 2400 hundred miles. It is during this travel time that something clicked in my mind about my Christian walk, and it all boils down to a simple word…conformity. If you are wondering what I mean, maybe this definition can help: behavior in accordance with socially accepted conventions or standards. I suspect, like me, the bible verse that jumped into your mind was Romans 12:2 where it says in part, “And do not be conformed to this world…” Listen to what the ETRV says, “Don’t change yourselves to be like people of this world.”
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions
fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23, NKJV
Do you feel the pressure of the world to change? Sometimes I think conformity happens subtly, without notice if not careful. Case and point, I spent four of the last several days driving some 2,400 miles down and up the eastern United States. As a follower of Christ, I am well aware of Romans 13:1-7 and the principle that is clearly revealed, speeding would not bring glory to God, it is just that simple. That being said, I found myself battling two things while driving: the tailgating driver frustrated by me doing the speed limit and the inner man that can reason on numerous levels why it really doesn’t matter. I found myself fighting, and yes at times, giving into the pressure of my surroundings, only to be reminded that it is He whom I should be wanting to please the most: not myself or the person in back of me. So, what does all this have to do with our theme verse? More than you think.
The lament by Jeremiah in which we find these words of assurance and comfort, is during a time when Israel was facing hardship due to…you guessed it…conformity. God exhorted Israel not to marry certain people because of the potential influence they would have on them (Deuteronomy 7:3-4), yet they did not heed that warning. As time went on and giving in to the ways of the world around them, they slowly but surely began to change and not for the good. The judgment which God brought upon them, which we find Jeremiah lamenting over, was because of this very thing; that is, God’s people giving in to the ways of the world. It is just that simple!
I humbly acknowledge that the vast majority of the time, I followed the speed limit, but it wasn’t always easy, and it was never perfect. Lights flashing in back of me, wanting to get home, hundreds, if not thousands of other vehicles zooming by me, some with a little backwards fish on the back. I could reason easily that God really doesn’t care, or His grace is more than sufficient, and the list could go on. It is interesting that the list which the world wants me to use is seemingly limitless. But truth be told, I only need to ask one simple question, “Will it please my God?” It is just that easy.