Thursday, March 12, 2015

Why Non-Conformity Matters

“You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God’s likeness---righteous, holy and true.”

~Ephesians 4:24

There wasn’t much about Jesus’ character that he conformed to those around him. He loved others, cared for them, befriended them, but he did not try to be like them, or to win them over with his sameness. He won them with his love and healing. There was something different  about Jesus, and the crowds gathered wherever he went. His light shone before all men and he did not have need to  worry about how others viewed him for God to do his work. Jesus’ concern was being a member of heaven, not of earth. Jesus ministered, healed, walked and lived according to the Word. To those he touched he loved, healed, forgave, and then said “go, and sin no more.”  He spoke out to the Pharisees, to those who were skeptical. He only loved, valued the human heart and let people know their eternal worth. But he did not conform.

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” ~Romans 12:2

The Jubilee Bible 2000 translates this as “do not be conformed to this age…”  The American Standard versions says “And be not fashioned according to this world…” So often, we are fashioned to the world, and conformed to the present age. We are always changing and riding whatever current wave of political correctness hits us next. Our simplicity in Christ becomes watered down, and our foundations crumble as we become white washed. People responded to Jesus because they were searching for a peace and love that was different than what the world offered not a love that was changed and twisted to blend in with the worlds definition of what it should look like. God doesn’t need our worrying about blending in, he will do his work and use us as his instruments. He needs our faithfulness, our separation for him and towards him, so that our lights can shine before all men. He needs our steadfast commitment to non conformity so that our hearts are not compromised; they are pure and ready to do his work.

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” ~2 Corinthians 11:3

God is the same yesterday, today and forever. His church will always reach people, he does not need our faulty human wisdom to decide how to update him or compromise him. As Christians, we are only called to conform to Christ. We don’t have to conform to customs, watch current entertainment, live out the cultures “current” values, or have any concern about blending in. We can live as God calls us; trusting that we can reach those he asks us to reach for him. People are searching for something that will feed them living water to take away their thirst, and our shining light of a different life lived well, faithfully, with joy---with non conformity will draw them to Christ. In our hearts we are to be conformed to Christ’s kingdom, not the present and temporal world.

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

~1 John 2:15

Non conformity used to be the standard among Christians. We are a people called out, set apart for Christ. During the time periods where Christianity spread the fastest it was never because of Christians conformity, but because of God and his work. The Muslim world is experiencing the biggest growth of Christianity in history. Yet, none of these Muslim’s have come to Christ because of any person or any church conforming to be popular. They come to Christ in countries where Christianity is outlawed and dangerous. They have visions, dreams, read a Bible, or speak to someone whose light is shining brightly for Christ, and they want to know what is different. God does not rely on anyone “updating” themselves to the current culture. In America, where most churches have made themselves current, young people leave the church after high school in large numbers and many leave Christianity behind.

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” ~2 Corinthians 6:17

The human heart is made to desire a love that is lasting and eternal, one that remains unchanged. When culture is always changing, church’s are updating themselves and changing their foundational beliefs to suit the culture, it does not fill. Building on an unchanging foundation---God, and being taught how to live that out without needing to worry about being relevant, is the true freedom God desires for us. We are free from the cultures constant chains of updates and free to do God’s work, live for Christ, walk in the power of the Holy Spirit daily, reaching others. The freedom of the unchanging and ancient faith, the truths of living out the Word are never suited for conformity to a world that will pass away. These truths stand on the foundation and unchanging cornerstone---Christ. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever.” ~Hebrews 13:8

Prayer: “Lord, show me where I have conformed. Where my heart and mind---my very lifestyle---have become compromised and lukewarm. Renew my heart and mind to be transformed and conformed to Christ. Help me to shine before others without worry of conforming and keeping up. Amen.”

“Don’t participate in the things these people do. For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.” Ephesians 5:7-9

“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18

“Build your nest upon no tree here; for you see God has sold the forest to death.” ~Samuel Rutherford

“Let none of us be content to tarry down below in the marshland of the poor poverty-stricken religion of this present day---but let us climb the high mountains where the sun of God’s grace is shining brightest---and stand there enjoying communion with Him, leaving the world.” -Charles Spurgeon

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