Do not be conformed to this world - Romans 12:2
I want you to imagine you are celebrating a milestone birthday. Maybe its your 30th, 40th or even 70th. You are having a big party with all your close friends and family. COVID is no longer a problem so you are in a big room with lots of people who love you - and it is time for speeches. Up stands your best friend or partner - someone who knows you intimately and starts describing you.
How do they describe you? Do they say you are friendly? Loving? Supporting? A good friend? Husband? Wife?
How does that make you feel inside? Warm? Comforted? Proud?
This exercise is designed to help us identify our values - which are words or concepts which define how we want to live our life. These values are developed throughout our life - some we get from our parent; from school or from our friends and life experiences. They influence how you think; how you act, feel and what you do.
But sometime's we develop values which are not in line with what God wants for us - values which are of the world so to speak. Romans 12:2 tells us not to “conform” to the world, meaning that we need to recognise when we are acting in a way that is perhaps ok for the world but is not ok for God.
For example, I value fun and friendship. In acting in line with this value I may regularly go out with my friends and share a couple of bottles of wine, and finish the night quite drunk. This is quite a normal and acceptable thing to do from a worldly perspective, but Ephesians 5:18 tells us not to get drunk as that can lead to debaunchery. As such, I now have a choice - to continue to conform to the World or stop.
“No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.” - 1 John 3:6
1 John 3:1-7 talks in line with this. It stresses how we cannot be both in the world and connected with God. How we cannot have a relationship with God - be close to God - and keep acting in line with the World. John 14:6 tells us we need to go through Jesus to connect with God and it is only through reading the bible, praying and engaging with others in our community that we can learn and connect with Jesus and therefore recognise whether our values and therefore actions are of God or not (Hebrews 4:12).
Therefore, if we are to no longer be confirmed to this world we need to make sure to spend regular time with God and his word; giving him the opportunity to speak to us, showing us where we are sinning - where our values are not aligned with his and make the decision to stop.
Next week we are going to explore the second part of Romans 12:2 which instructs us to “transform” our mind and how we can use the psychological concept of ”The Choice Point” to recognise when we are in a situation where we need to change and some common barriers which may stop us from choosing to do so
- Written by Ashleigh Crosilla