|Volume 25 Number 6 June 2023
Be Not Conformed
Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor
Times are changing! In order for the children of God to bring glory to Him in all we do (Colossians 3:23-24), we must work diligently at not becoming like the world around us. Paul reminded the saints in Rome, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2 NKJV). We live during a time when many in the world have become seemingly more negative, harsh, critical, angry and downright hateful. Please understand, I am not suggesting that the world today is worse than it has ever been (consider Noah’s day or Lot’s day, etc.), but this world is worse than I personally have ever seen it. However, I do not want to camp on the condition of the world around us but rather to exhort and to encourage us to be different than our society. What are some practical ways for us to “not be conformed” to this world?
Firstly, refuse to complain and protest about things over which you have no control. Let’s face it; life on earth is anything but fair, and that does not change just because one becomes a Christian! The world is set on complaining and protesting that things are not fair and never will be this side of eternity. Christians can easily get caught up into this trap of negative complaints about things over which they have no control. There is an overriding principle for those in Christ that must be at the forefront of each day. “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord’” (Romans 12:19 ESV). We need to prepare for the fact that life will hurt us, disappoint us and even seemingly malign us at times. Yet, faithfulness to God is always rewarded in the end (Revelation 2:10). An unfairly imprisoned apostle penned, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31 NKJV). When I refuse to complain and protest about things over which I have no control, I am different from the world around me.
Secondly, resolve to weigh others on the same scale on which you weigh yourself. Isn’t it so easy to be patient with ourselves and not so patient with others? Isn’t it so convenient to hold others to a standard to which we do not hold ourselves? After warning against harsh and ignorant judgements, Jesus warned, “For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:2 ESV). Then just a few short verses later, Jesus said that we need to treat others just how we want to be treated (Matthew 7:12). The idea taught here is mercy, kindness and gentleness. These qualities are certainly lacking in our world. However, if you and I resolve right now to weigh others by the same scale that we use for ourselves, we will not be like the world around us.
Thirdly, remember I control the way I react to situations in my life. There is a serious lack of self-control in the world today! Many are so quick to beep their car horns, yell obscenities, cut others off in traffic and fight at the proverbial “drop of the hat.” Even in the midst of such immaturity and ungodliness, I must remember that the way I react to these things is under my control. Just because another loses control does not mean I have to! Those living in the Spirit must produce the fruits of the Spirit, one of which is “self-control” (“temperance” KJV) (Galatians 5:23). Self-control is an amazing character trait that displays and emulates the Lord Jesus (1 Peter 2:23). Reacting with self-control when the situation is out of control shows that I am not conformed to this world.
Fourthly, refocus on the good and do not obsess over the bad. Each day presents us with a new choice on which we will focus our attention. God’s Word is replete with the admonition to focus on the good and right things in life. The very text with which we began (Romans 12:2) reminds that through “the renewing of the mind” transformation occurs. Every thought that enters our minds must be brought into the captivity of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). Refocus your mind daily on the things that are above, not on the things of this earth (Colossians 3:1-3). Of course, Paul’s classic inspired text on the refocusing of the mind is clear regarding upon what we need to meditate daily (Philippians 4:8).
In conclusion, Christianity is not a Sunday only lifestyle. Christianity must be lived each day in every circumstance for the glory of our King. The darker the world becomes, the brighter our lights will shine. Instead of blending with this world, let’s stand out and stand up for the One Who changed our lives and our eternal destiny. “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21 NKJV).