Be Not Conformed

I’ve been thinking about Play-Doh. You can take Play-Doh and make just about anything you want.

I can roll it into a ball and build a snow man. I can use a cookie cutter and cut it into a star. If I take my snow man and star, I can put them into a plastic bowl and the Play-Doh will take on that shape.

If I were to leave the Play-Doh in any of the shapes for too long without putting it in a airtight container, it would harden and take on that shape permanently.

We as humans are just like Play-Doh. Until we harden, we are moldable and shapeable. We must be careful what, and who, we allow to shape us.

 

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 12:2


How many times have we heard this particular scripture used to teach us to steer clear from the ways of the world? How many times have we focused on the fact that we should not be like the secular world, but we should be different because we seek after the will of God?

If you are like me, you have probably sat under a similar teaching or study many, many times. This is a good lesson. One that bears repeating.

This one verse of scripture holds many truths and lessons within it. We could easily fill one entire lesson/sermon simply by focusing on this scripture.

I wonder how many times this verse is taught in context though?

This weekend I kept reading.

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is giving to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with literality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:3-8


My New King James Version refers to the above version of scripture as the “Serve God with Spiritual Gifts” sections. All believers are part of one body. However, each member is still an individual. The individual has individual gifts. Those gifts should be used in a way to build up the body. No one gift is any more important or necessary than another gift. Each is necessary and therefore equal.

Sometimes it seems that Christians like to assign weight to “callings” in the church. One job is considered more important than another and therefore the person in that position is given more power and control over the movement of the entire congregation.

Unfortunately, this type of power struggle can cause division within the church.

What happens if we apply these verses to verse 2?

Can the power struggle in the church cause Christians to conform to the world instead of Christ? Or is the conformation that takes place within the walls of the church always part of the transformation spoken of in verse two?

I believe that religious people, not Christian people, are very much guilty of “conforming” other Christians to the world. We gather in our churches labeled by denominations and we want those who gather to worship with us to dress like us, pray like us, enjoy the same style of worship music, and pursue the same type of church service as us. We push people away who have “different” ideas even if those ideas aren’t unscriptural, just uncomfortable.

Yes, we are guilty of expecting people to conform to our religious traditions that are not requirements for Christianity.

The next section of this chapter is referred to as “Behave Like a Christian”.

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in doing so you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:9-21


I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that the next thirteen verses are dedicated to teaching us how we should treat each other and behave in general.

Stop being mean to each other.

Love each other.

Rejoice when someone else rejoices. Weep when they weep. If they hurt you? Be the bigger person and do something nice for them. Stop spreading hurt and pain. Love each other not only in spite of your differences but for your differences.

God doesn’t expect Christians to just follow the crowd…not even what seems to be a predominantly Christian crowd. Scripture tells us that the devil is sneaking around seeking whom he may devour. He isn’t opposed to working in the church.

As a matter of fact, I’ve always thought satan probably focused more on the church than other places.

You know, I want to molded by God, and sometimes He uses other humans to help in the process. I also want to be very careful to make sure the individuals I let near the potter’s wheel are actually sent by God and not just someone trying to get me to conform to their opinion of the “right” way.

Truth be told, we shouldn’t want to conform to anyone’s way other than God’s way!

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4 responses to this post.

  1. this makes me want to get my kids play dough and play with it myself:)

    Reply

  2. I love play dough! And it has given you some great thoughts, Carrie Ann. I think you're right.. we all need more love in our lives. (:

    Thanks for linking up!

    Reply

  3. You can even make your own play dough which makes the experience even more memorable! 🙂

    Reply

  4. No matter what gifts I may possess, if I don't have love then I'm just a clanging cymbal producing a loud obnoxious sound.

    I don't want to be that person. I want to love people to Jesus rather that than legalism them away from Him.

    I'm also a little selfish and would like for some people to love me that way too! 😉

    Reply

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