Monday, December 10, 2012

“Be not conformed to this world” Romans 12:2

What does this mean to me? What does God want this to mean to me? That is an interesting question. As I sit and ponder this verse, I wonder if I think about it enough or really at all.

Conformed: 1.To correspond in form or character; be similar.
2. To act or be in accord or agreement
3. To act in accordance with current customs or modes
New Testament Greek - συσχηματίζω - I conform to
to conform one's self (i.e. one's mind and character) to another's pattern, (fashion one's self according to)

If I am not to pattern myself after this world, then as a Christian, I would pattern myself after what? 

If I am not to 'act in accordance with current customs or modes, what customs or modes am I to act in accordance with? 

If I am not to 'correspond in form or character' to this world, what am I to correspond in form or character to? 

If I am not to 'be in agreement with this world, who or what am I to be in agreement with?

At first glance, I would answer, well God, of course. But, what does that mean, what does that look like. Giving the right answer doesn't complete the question, because this requires action, not just the right answer. Conformed is a verb; it requires action. Action requires choices, informed choices. Choices should be made after gaining understanding and knowledge. Understanding and knowledge come from study. You see where I am going?! 

'Conformed' may look different to each person, but the common denominator is that we, as Christians, don't pattern ourselves after the world. But, again, what does that look like???

I see the world creeping into the body of Christ. Historically, the church is on average, around 10 years behind current culture. Meaning, what is accepted in the world is eventually accepted in the church. Every church? No, but in many and in the beliefs of many who call themselves Christians. Are we jeopardizing the biblical view of God?

Some insights:
-The divorce rate in our churches equals or surpasses the worlds
-Some evangelical churches have taken a 'market driven' approach to  church
-Some churches have changed to 'look' more like the world
-Homosexuality is accepted in a growing number of churches
-Modesty has conformed with the standards that the world sets
-Unwed pregnancy is accepted and even celebrated

So why mention this stuff when I was talking about personal 'conformity'? Because, this effects us. I am not talking about a perfect Christian or God's forgiveness; this is about choices. We can't hide behind "well no one is perfect" or "God forgives". That is not the point here. This is about that verse at the beginning of this post. What does it mean to me??  How do I act on it? 

Is the church and therefore the Christian, different for every culture? 

What does 'be not conformed to this world' mean to me, I am reevaluating that right now.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Make Lemonade???


I've always heard that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. If I have heard this saying once, I've heard it a 1000 times. I have used it on many occasions.

Lately, it feels like those lemons are being hurled at me at 100mph and all I can do is dodge them. There is no lemonade to be made.

So, what do I do? 

Psalm 91

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

Sometimes all we can do is take shelter; there is no making lemonade or anything else out of the situation or circumstances. Is this failure? I don't think so, though at one time I probably would have said it was. In fact, in truth, I would have definitely thought I or anyone else that failed to 'make something out of lemons' was a failure.

As God tests and grows me, He is also changing my perspective and some of my long held beliefs. Sounds scary, doesn't it? Well, it is! It means that I am having to 'give up' some things, rethink some things, and reevaluate some things. For me, that is huge. If you know me well, you know it is huge... humongous... darn big. I am not easily swayed, hence some hard lessons have come my way. And hard is not a strong enough word for what I have experienced.

I want to be able to fix things. I want to use my intelligence to make things work. If I put enough effort out, it will work, right?  But, God doesn't value that 'effort' as much as He values my dependence on Him.

So, I am learning to hide in Him. HIDE? That means I am weak. Yes, Lisa, you are weak, in and of yourself. See, I had it all wrong. I thought I was being strong in Him, but not really. I was still working in my own strength, relying on my own intelligence and my agenda.

To hide in Him means something so much deeper than my human mind can naturally fathom. It is to be covered by Him, to be concealed. My Father wants me to run to Him in times of distress (or when lemons are being flung at my head). He is willing to shield me, but so often I just stand out in the open taking the hits.

It doesn't make me weak to hide in Him! It makes me strong in Him. I can never be strong enough myself; I have got to stop trying. It goes against everything the world says I should do. It turns the logic of the world upside down. I might even look weak to the world at times and I have got to be ok with that.

Have a figured it all out? Nope. But, I am working on it. I do not begin to have the answers. I still don't understand all that I and my family are going through. What I must do though, is find shelter in Him and forget about the lemonade.