Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Don't Be Conformed

{Romans 12:1-2; ESV}
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

What has made the American church ineffective in her mission? Is it not the reality that we have allowed ourselves to be conformed to the world? I am not going to point my finger at anyone else, all I have to do is to look at my own life. A life that I have wasted pursuing movies, video games, sports, and politics. In many areas my life looked just like any other person of my generation. It is so easy to get sucked into the culture.

We defend getting sucked into the culture by claiming freedom; “I am free to do this, it isn’t a sin.” That maybe true, but I recall the apostle Paul writing something about things being permissible but not being beneficial (1 Corinthians 6:12 and 10:23). Just because we are allowed to do something doesn’t mean that we should. What after all is the benefit of the hundred of hours we have devoted to entertainment? Have we served another person? Have we grown in our knowledge and understanding of God? The question we need to ask more often is: What is the benefit of this__________ (activity, possession, entertainment)? Pursue those things that benefit your faith and reject those things that become a distraction. Otherwise we will find ourselves constantly conforming to the ways of the world.

If we take a look at what Paul wrote in Romans 12 we notice something very important. What we should notice is that sacrifice, offering myself to God as a living sacrifice in response to His mercy and grace, precedes not being conformed and being transformed. The reason American Christians are being conformed to the culture, being made in the likeness of the world, is because we have refused to offer ourselves as living sacrifices. If we cannot sacrifice we cannot be transformed; the two go together.

Here is the scary part. The reason we aren’t sacrificing is because God’s mercy and grace mean so little to us. We want God to save us from our sins so we can pursue the life that we want to live, and we give little or no thought to the life God created us to live. The comfortable life I want to create for myself is more important than the life God wants to give me as I live a faithful life.

If we are thankful for the grace and mercy of God then it needs to be reflected in the way we live. Be a living sacrifice. Don’t conform to the world. And be transformed into the new person God is creating you to be.

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