Think different

The Christians in Corinth of the first century parallel some of what we experience today. They were divided and not getting along. Sexual immorality was present and accepted. There was compromise with idolatry. Even the Lord’s Supper had lost its meaning and had become something that divided. It is sad that so many of these can still be found today.

But what is the real problem? Is it not that we are allowing the world – the thoughts and values around us – to shape our lives more than we allow God’s word to influence us? Far too many Christians allow political ideology, the latest movements or social media to determine what we believe and how we react – even towards other Christians. Continue reading “Think different”

Conformity or cooperation?

“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” (Romans 12:2 ESV).

Conformity has a bad connotation in the modern mind. It is portrayed as being forced into an artificial mold that society (or government) has adopted as the correct way of thinking and behaving for its members. One popular expression denoting the concept is the demand to “stay in one’s designated lane.” There are many who understandably rebel at any requirement which seems to result in their having to be like everyone else, even to that of driving on their side of the road. Continue reading “Conformity or cooperation?”

Choosing the reproach of Christ

Like his parents, Moses would have to choose between his royal family and his Israelite brethren. Events would eventually culminate in a decision to identify with one or the other.

The Bible recalls “the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel,” and “made their lives bitter with hard service” and “ruthlessly made them work as slaves” (Exodus 1:12,13). The easy choice for Moses would have been to remain with his royal family. Instead he “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:24,25). Continue reading “Choosing the reproach of Christ”

A secret life

When I look back on my teen years I see a repeating pattern.

In the 1960s, teens had long hair and wore bell-bottom pants with a flowery shirt. The long hair was supposed to be a sign of rebellion against the “establishment.” The evidence, though, shows otherwise. No matter how much we thought our hairstyles and clothes were different, we were all dressing alike. We were conforming to the majority of those our own age.

In a way, we were engaged in a sort of self-deception. We thought that because we looked different, we were different. Actually, we were not nonconformists. On the contrary, we looked like each other. We conformed to the way we thought we should look. Continue reading “A secret life”

Go ahead! Be a rebel!

A young person who had grown up in the church recently suggested to me she had heard these ideas all her life and wanted to explore new ideas. She was not a conformist! She wanted to think for herself, be unique.

I told her that if she really wanted to be a rebel, she should adopt Christian ideals. Like many comments from an older person like me, the statement hit the floor with a loud clank. Continue reading “Go ahead! Be a rebel!”

Conformity through identification

We tend to identify with our heroes; we seek to share in their substance. Through identification we assimilate some, often many, of their characteristics, and so our views, and opinions and actions, are formed through identification.

There are several passages which speak of our being conformed to the likeness of Christ, or our identification with Christ.

“And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose. For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, … them he also glorified” (Romans 8:28-30 ASV).

Among the goals of man’s redemption in God’s purpose is conformity to the image of his Son. Glorification consists of being made Christ-like, the perfect image of God in human nature. His people “are transformed into the same image (Christ’s image or “likeness”) from glory to glory” [or “ever-increasing glory” – ISV(2 Corinthians 3:18), so glorification is both present and progressive as we grow more and more into the likeness (image) of Christ. Continue reading “Conformity through identification”