If I were to post a survey to find out who were the most evil people in the bible, who do you think would win? Would it be the Babylonians? Persians? Ammonites? Assyrians? The bible is full of stories of God’s anger being unleashed on evil societies. I mean, these aren’t just cities with a high crime rate. These are societies where evil has become commonplace and a way of life. Where people commit evil acts because “everyone is doing it!”
Roman 12:2 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.
The Conflicting Viewpoints
We who are Christians have been called to “come out of the world” (John 15:19) – not in a physical sense but in a spiritual sense. As long as we live in this world, we will be tempted by the world. Let’s be clear – the condemnation is not against the achievement of money, power, status – for even godly people in the bible like King David and Solomon had those – but we are warned against the temptation to adopt the views and standards of the world instead of God’s standards.
What are some of the patterns of this world?
- Promoting Self over others -
But the bible says “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too” – Philippians 2:3-4
- More is better -
We are warned “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” - Luke 12:15
- Favoring the rich and famous -
This is a sin “But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law” - James 2:9
- Selfish acts of giving -
Giving should be done in secret “But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you” - Matthew 6:3-4
- Friendships of convenience -
The bible defines a true friend “A friend is always loyal and a brother is born to help in time of need”.- Proverbs 17:17
The Challenge to Conform
1 Cor 2:12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.
As believers and followers of Christ, we have the Holy Spirit within us who defines a new set of values for our lives. The new set of values define what is good, holy and pleasing to God and we are empowered with everything we need to adopt this new set of values.
Make no mistake, the Worldview is from Satan and it’s allure is strong. Coupled with a subtle approach and some clever marketing, it is easy to mistake them for harmless values we freely let our children (and ourselves) assimilate into our belief system. However, we who have the Holy Spirit in us, do not need to fear.
1 John 4:4-5 But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them.
We can totally identify Worldviews vs Godviews and we have the power to resist conforming to the world.
What to Expect from non-conformance
1 John 3:13 So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
Well, what did you expect? If you don’t play according to their rules, you’re likely to get thrown out of the game. The apostle Paul was no stranger to persecution but he resisted conforming. Thankfully it is not in God’s plan for all of us to be thrown in jail. However, it is His expectation that we stand up for our beliefs.
Luke 9:25-26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.
But don’t take this personally though. Don’t flatter ourselves by thinking that we are so important to the world that when we turn our backs to it, the world revolts.
John 15:18-19 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.
The hatred is against Jesus, whose light revealed the sins of the world, and continues to do so. If the world hates you, you are in good company. In fact, you’re on the winning side!
So, what now?
There’s only one thing to do I suppose, don’t conform to the pattern of this world. God said “I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” (Hebrews 10:16) Since we have His laws in our heart and mind, we have a benchmark against which we can test the values of the world we encounter to determine if they should be adopted or discarded.
Let us persevere and hold on to our faith even when the world despise us when we discard its values. Let us “press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Phil 3:14)