Francis de Sales once said, “We cannot help conforming ourselves to what we love.” This caused me to think of 1st John 2:15, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Conformity, at least how it is used in Romans 12:2, is something we must, and I mean must, fight against! In a world seemingly bent on destruction, our society is ever more defiant toward the truth and moral compass of God and His word. Who is behind all this? It is Satan. It is as though he is speaking those words all over again, “Has God indeed said…” (Genesis 3:1). This is heightened by the ongoing pressure of this cancel culture that seeks to silence those who openly think differently, to the point of destroying their lives and businesses. Of course, all this can be avoided if you simply conform.
This notion of conforming is easy on some levels to both articulate and recognize. This is due largely to the convictions that presently reside within many Christians today. Is it right to lie? Be sexually active outside of marriage? Take the life of another? You get the idea. Yet, even these once held truths of morality are being challenged in the Christian community. Why? Is it because some deeper truth from God’s word has been found, or is it because of the pressure being placed on us by the world we live in? As much as I wanted to speak to this idea, I was personally confronted with a rather difficult question as I meditated on Romans 12:2 a while back. Have I bought into this notion of conforming? Sadly, I had to answer yes, and I suspect many others would as well. Could it be that God’s desire for us to be transform is what breaks the chains of the world’s conforming power?
And do not be conformed to this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind…
Over the past thirty years, the number of times I have done a lesson from this text cannot be counted on both my hands. This time, a renewed idea of the pressure called conformity has caused me to pause. What does it mean to conform? Well, the Greek word used here means to fashion alike. It would seem like the idea of being transformed, so what is the difference? This following quote may help answer that question, “It is the difference between an outward conformity or disguise and a thorough inward assimilation.” Consider for a moment the ETRV of this verse, “Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking.” Conformity is driven by the world. We are warned against this in so many places (Proverbs 1:10, 15; Jeremiah 10:2). Conformity is going along with the crowd, even if it conflicts with your convictions concerning God and His moral truths. Exodus 23:2, God’s people under the old law were warned, “You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice.” Another is the warning used in Deuteronomy 7 concerning marrying anyone of the seven nations God would hand over in defeat to Israel. The concern was stated, “For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods…” (Deuteronomy 7:4). God’s concern for His people was conformity.
Are we susceptible to this idea to conform? Our culture takes the edge off drug use by calling it recreational. The taking of an innocent life is now called women’s health care. Sexuality is redefined, resulting in men competing with women. To think differently about these and many other subjects means you are narrow minded, not woke. To speak up is to be discriminatory. You must conform or simply be silent.
So, how do I fight against the pressure of conformity? By allowing God to transform your mind. We are God’s voice in a lost and dying world that we were once a part of before Jesus redeemed us. With love, patience, and grace, let us speak the transforming power of God’s truth.