Daily Light from the Lighthouse
"Do not be conformed to this world..."
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?