Last week we looked at the first of four Scriptures to help us understand God’s plan on overcoming ungodly beliefs. This week we will start a two-part post on Romans 12:1-2 where we learn that renewing our mind to God’s truth brings freedom.
Romans 12:2 - Renewing Our Minds to God’s Truth Brings Freedom
And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good, acceptable, and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
Pressure to Conform
It begins the moment you are born. The world is trying to conform you to its image. The word picture is that of being squeezed into a mold and becoming something that you are not.
Remember that when we are talking about the world, we are talking about everything that is opposed to the ways of God. It is the “systematic expression of human sin in human cultures.” The world is in rebellion against God and wants you to join along. It wants you to conform.
There is a constant pressure being exerted to force us into to going along with the ways of the world. We are called to be a light shining in the darkness. The world wants to stamp out the light so that it does not expose its sin.
Peer pressure is one form that hits us where we live. Our friends and those who are around us all the time put pressure on us to go with the flow. Here are a few examples:
- “Everyone is doing it”.
- “Are you too holy for us?”
- “You’re so stuck up and think you are so far above us.”
- “Come on, loosen up and live life.”
- “Stop judging me.”
- “You’ve gotta learn how to live.”
- “Oh, will mommy and daddy get mad at you if you do something wrong?”
- “Chicken. I dare you to do it.”
- “Are you with us or against us?”
Whatever form it takes, there is pressure for you to join along with the rest of crowd. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t be different.
Paul explains what is going on in 2 Corinthians 2:15. He says,
For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.
When the world sees the life of Jesus flowing through you it reminds them of their own sin and the judgment that is coming. The world wants to turn off the light of your witness by having you conform to its own ways. Sometimes this pressure can turn into persecution, even to the point of death.
Pressure to Stop Doing Good
The Bible says that Jesus went about doing good and healing all those who were oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38). He did it in ways that irritated the religious leaders of His day. They were constantly being offended by the actions and sayings of Jesus, so much so that they plotted to put Him to death.
The leaders could not deny that Jesus was doing so many miracles. Instead of being overjoyed at what he was doing, they were threatened. They knew if they did not conform Jesus to their will and way, they would lose their position of power. Look at what the Bible says:
So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the Council and said, “What are we going to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away our place and all or nation. But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish. (John 11:47-50)
The leaders refused to change their ways and believe in Jesus. In order to keep things the same they must either conform Jesus into their way of thinking or kill Him and get rid of His influence forever.
Pressure to Be Silent
The world wants to silence believers so they will not reveal their hearts. The world does not want to change. It wants to force everyone who disagrees into silence.
Jesus gives us an idea of why the world wants to squeeze us into its mold. It doesn’t want its evil deeds exposed. In John 3:19-20 Jesus says:
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world and people loved darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
Jesus was the light of the world and the world tried to put out the light by killing Him. People will try and conform you to their ways or get rid of your lights that shine into their lives. Jesus knew this and warned us of this pressure. He said:
18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. 25 But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’
As followers of Jesus Christ there can be no compromise with the world. The world is opposed to God and is trying to press the life of God out of His followers. But Paul tells not to be conformed.
This is an important part of living life as God intends it to be.
P.S. Where are you feeling the most pressure to conform to the thinking of this world?
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