Post by Faith Reboot’s Kelly Switala
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will. -Romans 12:2
One of my absolute favorite verses in the entire Bible. Why? Well, because I’m a self-diagnosed people-pleaser – that’s why.
It’s easy to conform to the world, isn’t it? God knows that. His laws in the Old Testament were centered on the very fact that He did not want His people, Israel, to conform to the cultures pressing in around them. He wanted them to be different, counter-cultural, set-apart for Him. There’s so much evidence in the Bible of how God’s heart was broken and his anger was stirred in the name of conformity to the pattern of the world.
In the desert, the Israelites started complaining that they had no meat to eat. Why? The Message version of Numbers 11:4-5 says it was because, “The riffraff among the people had a craving and soon had the People of Israel whining.”
While Moses was on the mountain receiving the Ten Commandments, Aaron caved to the pressure of the Israelites as he made a golden calf for the people to worship (Exodus 32).
And was it not conformity (allowed by God’s will for our redemption) that sent Jesus to the cross with an angry crowd shouting, “Crucify him!”?
So, is conformity always a bad thing? No, it’s not. Because it’s all about what I’m conforming to. God’s will for me is not to become like the people of this world, but to become like His Son.
The only pattern we are meant to conform to is the image of Christ.
How does that happen? By allowing The Holy Spirit, the very same Spirit that raised Jesus Christ and lives inside of me, to transform me and renew my mind.
One of my favorite quotes is from author Jennifer Dukes Lee in her book Love Idol. Lee writes, “It’s true: I’m not yet who I’m made to be, for I am still becoming. But equally true is this: I am not the woman I was.”
For I am still becoming… Thanks be to Jesus that He has never given up on me! Jesus is still teaching me, discipling me, showing me The Way, The Truth, and The Life. And there are moments when I am amazed and humbled by the way He chooses to show Himself through me, just as there are moments when I am terribly ashamed of the way I’ve represented Him. I’m not always the best student, but Jesus holds out His pierced hand to pull me up, dust me off, and remind me of how much I’m loved. In His great grace, I am free to make mistakes and I am free to become who I was made to be.
Yes, I still struggle with being a people-pleaser rather than being a Jesus-pleaser. That’s why I have Romans 12:2 tucked in my heart. I’m still learning to look to Jesus when I feel the temptation to hop in the culture current or agree with someone just because I’m afraid of what they may think of me. But Jesus forgives me because He knows my heart and we both await the day when I will appear before Him and my final transformation will take place, making me complete.
Until that day, I marvel at “the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in me, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27).