“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 toto 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?
-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.