Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2, NIV 1984).
My Musings – Just a portion of an oft quoted text. A favorite of mine and many others. It hardly seems like it needs any elaboration, as with the possible exception of recent converts, most are familiar with its meaning. Yet we mustn’t become complacent with foundational texts such as these, as there is always the danger losing our edge and drifting back into conformity.
- Do not – An imperative.
- Conform – Behave according to (comply with) socially acceptable conventions or standards.
- Pattern – A reliable sample of traits, acts, tendencies, or other observable characteristics of a person, group, or institution.
- World – The concerns of the earth and its affairs.
- But – Used to introduce a phrase or clause contrasting with what has already been mentioned.
- Be – Used to indicate something due to happen.
- Transformed – Make a thorough or dramatic change in character.
- Renewing – To make extensive changes.
- Mind – Elements in an individual that feels, perceives, thinks, wills, and especially reasons.
The things (patterns) of this world and the things of God are usually easy to distinguish from one another. Extremes usually are. At least they used to be. And the danger of conforming to worldly standards and conventions are easy to see, including many that the general population considers to be socially acceptable. At least that used to be the case. But the world is seeing more shades of gray and less black and white than it used to.
But I think there is a more subtle danger that lies in between the extremes. Transformation should derive from commitment, wholehearted dedication and devotion. Sometimes, perhaps more often than we would care to admit, it derives from compliance, a mere conformity to requirements or expectations, void of any deep-seated dedication or devotion. A mere going through the motions without any real inward change. Dangerous because it elicits a false satisfaction of having renewed our minds, when we are merely mimicking a pattern of spirituality. It is not a state of “being.” It is just a state of doing. All appears right on the outside, but it is not right on the inside.
My Advice – Do not conform to the patterns of this world. And do not think that conforming to a pattern of spirituality is a substitute for inward renewal.