Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform 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 12:1-2
"The issue is not whether you are being formed, it is who is forming you and what you are being formed into," began Revered Dr. Garret Smith (Zach, Daliya) in Wednesday morning's Chapel.
Pastor Smith played a clip of a conformity study done in the 1960's, which showcased the pressure to conform to what others are doing/saying. The word "conform" in the above passage refers to schematic design – a picture of a basic concept, or taking on the appearance of something. "World" means "age" or the time period one lives in. "What characterizes this age?" he asked. He challenged the students to think about why these words from the Apostle Paul to the Roman Christians were even necessary. Why would a believer want to take on the form of the world? "We are caused to doubt," he said. Many people buy into the concept that the latest thinking or idea – whatever that is – is the best. "Ideas come and go," Pastor Smith said. "As Christians, we are able to take eternal truths and impress them into our culture. We are not to resist our culture, but influence it."
We are not to conform, we are to be transformed. "Transform" is a metamorphosis – the changing of a caterpillar into a butterfly. We are changing on the inside; as we become like Jesus we will see things the way He sees them. "We get to wear 'Jesus glasses' as we walk around," Pastor Smith encouraged.
In closing, Pastor Smith offered three ways to take off the mask of conformity and be who God made us to be:
1) Remember the pull and the foolishness of conforming to the world. We are pressed to conform to worldly thinking, but this is foolish.
2) Find allies. "The pressure of conformity can often be erased by having just one other person 'on your side'," Pastor Smith said. "Proverbs 13:20 says Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. You become like the people you hang around with."
3) Be transformed. Pastor Smith warned the students to beware of trying only to look like a church person. "Jesus wants to change us," he said. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. –2 Corinthians 3:18