To Conform, or Not To Conform

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God-what is good and is pleasing to Him and is perfect.”

 

With continuing to focus on being a Roman’s 12 Christian, verse two has always been one of my favorite “life” verses. It’s what I cling to in seasons of secular struggle, which, because I’m human, is daily. When we call ourselves Christians and are actively striving to daily live out His word, we are most definitely going to be faced with opposition about many things that contradict our way of thinking, acting, believing. In that moment we have a choice. Do we conform to the pressures of society given that many times it’s just easier, less painful? Or, do we stand firm on that solid foundation knowing it may bring backlash? Where is the real worth and value? Is it in the less painful road or in the backlash because we stood firm? I bet you can answer that.

 

I’ve found for many years now, especially since I’ve been a parent, that when I seal this verse tightly to my heart I am more equipped to face the pressures to conform. There are so many things that we face in this area as a Christian family when practicing very different morals and values than those who do not have a moral compass guiding them.  I’m reminded that in Him I am set apart for purpose and reason beyond what any amount of conforming can fulfill. It’s harder for my kids to see this, but because it’s been a common, repetitive verse in our home, they understand. It doesn’t always make it easy, but Christ tells us it’s not going to be and when we are prepared with the knowledge that struggle is just part of life, somehow, it makes it easier. Not always, but there’s less surprise when we live in an expectant mode.

 

My mom used to tell me and my sisters when we were kids, “just blame your dad and I” whenever we would be at a friend’s house and be exposed to something we shouldn’t be watching. I fall back on that with my Heavenly Father too, it’s so much easier knowing that He’s got my back, He gives me an out every single time. When we live our lives accountable to the One who sees it all, then there’s purpose in our reactions to those uncomfortable situations.

 

In the eyes of the world, my firm stance in refusing to conform looks like rebellion and stubbornness but in the eyes of my Lord, it is obedience and protection. What our actions are telling God when we refuse to conform is that we trust You, we believe You, we want Your way. If we can just get past the immediate uncomfortableness of not giving in, then we walk into the blessing of pleasing Him. Just as the verse says, we will be able to know the will of God-what is good and is pleasing to Him. That should be enough! But boy oh boy, when we are fighting those fleshly desires, sometimes it’s hard to see clearly past the temptation of just wanting to do what everyone else is doing. We want our flesh to be comfortable in the moment so instead we pass up the opportunity to glorify Him. You don’t struggle with that battle alone friend. Of course it’s much easier to give in, that’s satan’s best tactic…the easier, broader path. It’s how he coaxes us to follow, enticing us with a detour around those difficult decisions, telling us lies that say if we just give in it is much more pleasing to our carnal minds/bodies. Thankfully though, Jesus didn’t detour struggle, He willingly took on the ultimate struggle because He believed whole heartedly that if we stand firm against the winds that want to blow us here and there that we will get to experience the blessing that comes from inward change. The application here though is actually being willing to let God do the transformation. It cannot come from us, on our own or it will never really be complete inward change because only He has the power to cause real, lasting change.

 

What will you refuse to give in to this week? What does it look like when you consider not conforming to the standards in your immediate world? Work, school, even home maybe. Will you draw a line in the sand and protect the sanctity of real change and the glorification of God our Father or will you go weak at the knees and fulfill your fleshy desires to just fit in? I promise you this…whatever it is that comes to mind while you are reading this, if it’s uncomfortable to even think about what the right thing to do is, then you already know what you should do. Choose Christ and His ways and send the devil packing decision by decision, choice by choice, struggle by struggle. Your action to stand firm will not go unseen by the ONLY One who matters anyway.

Blessings for a fruitful week,

Leah Parkin

November 27

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, 2017