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We see in Romans 12:2 that God commands us to “Not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Now let’s talk for a moment about that verb “to conform.” It conveys the idea of putting on a mask so as to appear to those around you as being something (or someone) that you’re not. When a Christian conforms to the pattern of this world, they adjust their behavior to imitate the traits or features that are characteristic of the unsaved around them.
Now why would any Christian ever want to do that? Let’s face it; it’s hard at times to be a Christian. Whether in the workplace, at school, in the neighborhood, or even around family, the unsaved can be harsh and cruel. One tactic of our enemy is to get you to believe that you need to act like the world to be able to fit into the world. He wants you to feel it’s a whole lot easier to put on a mask when you’re around the unsaved, acting like they do, talking like they do, laughing at the things they laugh at, all so that you don’t come under attack for your beliefs. Or even so that they will somehow accept your Christian witness better.
God strictly commands us not to conform to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2). We aren’t to do the things the world does. The phrase “be not conformed” (in Romans 12:2) is written in the present tense. This means that the action being described – in this case, not conforming to the world around us, not putting on a mask and pretending to be something or someone you’re not – not conforming to the world is taking place right now, right now, right now. It’s present tense. The action of not conforming never ends, never takes a break. So, what does that mean for you and me?
We are not to conform to the world’s pattern – not now, not ten minutes from now, not three hours from now; not when we’re at work, not when we’re out with our friends, not today, not tomorrow, not next week, not when the going is tough – in other words, never! We are never to conform to the pattern of this world, we are never to try to be like, act like, look like, sound like, or live like the sinful world around us.
When you willfully choose to do the things the unsaved do – to act the way they act, talk the way they talk, live the way they live – you are doing so for the self-centered purpose of gaining man’s approval. Ultimately that means we are really trying to please King Me. After all, if I can get others to like me, accept me, approve of me, then I can finally feel good about myself.
Paul asks the question, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men?” He then goes on to declare, “If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10) Our aim, as we live as followers of Christ in this world, must be to please God – not man, not self, only God.
So, how are you doing with that? Is it your goal in life to please God? Ephesians 5:10 commands us to “find out what pleases the Lord.” And 2 Corinthians 5:9 challenges us to make it our life goal to please God. Again, I ask – how are you doing with that. I’m not asking if it’s your “desire” to please God, but is it your goal? Is it your primary purpose in life? Is it your central focus each day? Are you pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus? (Philippians 3:14)
God knows what your real motivations are for the things you say and the things you do. 1 Thessalonians 2:4 reminds us that God is daily testing your heart. Remember, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) As God looks at your heart my friend, what does He see?
Let me take this a step further. Because He CAN see your heart, and His purpose in your life is to refine you to become more and more like Christ – through the Holy Spirit and His Holy Word, He convicts you and prompts you to choose those things that bring Him glory. Those things that bring Him glory also bring us delight, as well as a sense of peace, joy, hope, and confidence in Him. All in all, it is for our good that He sees every nook and cranny of your heart, and that He tests it, because His desire for you is always and only for your good. So, why would we ever want to conform to something that doesn’t have our eternal good at heart?
Oh my friend, don’t conform to the pattern of this world. Don’t put on a mask and pretend to be what you’re not just so that you can “enjoy” life – which ultimately isn’t really enjoyable at all – especially once you’ve truly tasted of the goodness of God.
Ephesians 5:1 commands us to “be imitators of God, as dearly loved children.” How are you doing with that? As a child of God who is loved dearly, you should desire to also be obedient and (a 1 Peter 1 14-16 tells us to) “not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’”
The bottom line is that if you are a born-again believer, if you have placed your faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross of Calvary on your behalf, then you ARE and child of God and you DO belong to Him. When you choose to conform to the worlds way of thinking and doing things, you are committing spiritual adultery. Now please don’t take my word for it. James 4:4 asks the question: “Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” So, I must ask you, what choices are you making today. What choices will you make from this point forward. Who is sitting on the throne of your heart – and why?
Oh, how much I want to keep going here. There is so much more I want to share with you. And I promise I will. But not until next week’s episode. You see, I know that if I keep going with my next powerful point, it will take more time than this episode can afford. I am trying to keep these episodes within a 15-to-25-minute time frame, and I would more than likely far exceed those parameters. So, be sure to come back next week to listen to our 71st episode entitled “Mental Metamorphosis – Transforming the way we think”.CONCLUSION
If you would like to learn more about this topic, let me encourage you to do two things.
First, go to Amazon.com and purchase my book called “Extreme Mind Makeover: How to Transform Sinful Thoughts and Habits into Patterns of Life Pleasing to God.” Much of what you heard in today’s podcast was taken from or inspired by this book I wrote. Again, that title is “Extreme Mind Makeover: How to Transform Sinful Thoughts and Patterns” available on Amazon.com.
The second thing I would encourage you to do is download my free App. Just go to your App store and search for “My Purity Coach.” The app is free and is chocked full of all kinds of helps and resources to guide you as you walk by the Spirit. Again, that free app is called “My Purity Coach.”
And if you have not yet subscribed to this podcast, let me encourage you to do so today so you won’t miss any of our upcoming episodes!
So, until next time this is Author, Speaker, and Purity Coach Steve Etner reminding you that if you are going to glorify God in your everyday living, He must first be glorified in your every moment thinking.