In his letter to the Roman church, Paul warns them not to conform to this world, but instead to be transformed.
I thought I had this one figured out. I protected my heart using the typical recipe for holiness. Avoid certain movies, abstain from alcohol, and keep my tongue free from obscenities. Despite my efforts, I was really just like everybody else.
And strangely enough, my conforming to the world happened primarily at church.
When we talk about being worldly, our reference is usually 21st century America, where consumerism dominates every aspect of our lives. We spend well beyond our means with the sole purpose of finding a happiness fabricated through possession of junk and the acceptance by others.
Much of the advertising industry centers its efforts at convincing you that the use of their dishwasher detergent cause people to love you. The ultimate goal of our obsession with acquiring things we don’t really need is to seek the approval of others.
At church I labored towards a standard of acceptance. Instead of being focused on clothing or 6 pack abs, it was centered around obtaining a certain level of visible holiness. This holiness was proven through obedience of the law. I was obsessed with trying to find acceptance with those that I was going to church with.
Church functioned like high school, only more religious.
So how then can we be transformed? If this pursuit of acceptance in a religious environment is no different than the pursuit of popularity in the world?
We can do it by understanding and experiencing God’s love. Grace is what make Christianity different than anything else. A love that is undeserved. A love that is unconditional. A love that can transform.
When we experience this type of love, we stop worrying about the opinion of others because we rest secure in the love of our Father.
And instead of working to please each other, we can do good works for the sole purpose of pleasing him.
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