Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Daily Light - December 28, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Be transformed by the renewing of your mind..."
Romans 12:2

Alexander Hamilton is credited with saying, "He who stands for nothing will fall for any thing." The desire to not conform to the standard of this world or the standard of the self-religious is commendable. However, we must not get so caught up in what we will not do that we are doing nothing. Paul's admonition to not conform was not designed to develop within us an attitude of a rebel or maverick. It was clearly taught in the context that God alone is the standard by which we should live.
Therefore, the encouragement of nonconformity is followed by an admonition to be completely transformed in the most internal part of our being. The word transformed is taken from the familiar yet miraculous process of metamorphosis. We see this amazing transformation when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. That horrible little creature that no one would at one time touch is now the desire of every one to see and capture. Entire conservatories and atriums are built so that people can observe these beautiful butterflies with their exotic shapes and colors. How many buildings do you know of that are dedicated to observing caterpillars?
There is a truth that is inescapable. Every caterpillar has the potential to develop their wings and fly, but this will only take place if they go through this process of metamorphosis. In other words, they cannot become the beautiful creature that they were designed to be unless there is significant change.
When Christ truly enters a life, there is significant change that takes place. He works in such a way that a person who receives Him undergoes a metamorphosis of the heart and mind. With the heart they believe on Christ and with the mind they change the direction of their lives. All of this is initiated by God Himself through the power of His Spirit. Faith and repentance walk hand in hand so that a new creature is the product. The old man passes away and all things become new. Very simply, an individual cannot come into relationship with Christ and not experience change.
It seems that in every generation there are many caterpillars that are claiming to be butterflies. They are still grounded with no ability to fly because they have not come into a faith and repentance relationship with Jesus Christ. Why do we think that we can force God to accept us when we are not willing to accept Him and the change that He must bring into our lives?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Daily Light - December 27, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Do not be conformed to this world..."
Romans 12:2

Conformity is a demand that is made on all of us at different times. There are certain standards of what we do, what we look like, and how we think that are expected of us in certain environments. As the environments change, so do the standards of conformity. The pressure to conform comes from without (those who want you to be just like them) and from within (the feeling that we have to be like every one else). I have a t-shirt that is based on this verse, and the front of it simply says, "Don't Conform". The reactions that I have gotten from this shirt by complete strangers are amazing.
What is it then that Paul was telling us that we should not conform to? He uses a phrase which simply says "this world". The word "world" here refers to a period of time and the culture within that period of time. The "world" that Paul is referring to in the Roman culture of the 1st century is different from the "world" in which we live today. These believers lived in a very different culture from ours. The point that Paul is trying to make is not about the period of time or the culture of that time, but the fact that we should not allow those things to dictate our mind and heart in relationship to Jesus Christ.
This next statement may be surprising, but it is most definitely true. Conformity has very little to do with the outside of us that every one sees. We could line up 20 young men all dressed exactly the same, but that does not mean that they are all alike. Conformity in the sense of how Paul is using refers to the mind. The "world" does not want you to simply look like them; they want you more importantly to think like them. If someone can get you to conform to their way of thinking, then all of the other areas will fall into place.
As believers our ultimate and primary goal is to think like Christ. He is the pattern by which each of us should live. There is no man-made pattern or religious standard that will ever measure up to the stature and fullness of Christ. Seek to know Him and be as He is.
Where do you feel the major pressures to conform in your life, and how do you handle them in the light of Jesus Christ?