"And be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God." Romans 12:2
Against the flow. We've all heard it. But have we taken to heart what not conforming to the world means? Are we applying it daily in our lives?
We seem to always struggle to fit in. We want to feel accepted so we desire to be like everyone else. We worry about how we appear or what we look like; we worry about conforming instead of desiring to NOT be conformed to this world.
So why should we be set apart? What does it mean to be set apart? How are we to go about being different but still being loving in Christ?
"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." Ephesians 5:11
"See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:15-16
" Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." Ephesians 4:29
"Let love be without dissimulation, abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good." Romans 12:10
"This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart." Ephesians 4:17-18
"If so be that ye have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye pit off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts: Put on the new man, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind." Ephesians 5:21-23
God placed us here to not only glorify and enjoy Him forever, but to shine as lights for His name. But we cannot be a light if we are walking in darkness. Or as Matthew says:
"You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless." Matthew 5:13
The Bible has much to say about being set apart in Christ. These verses and many more can serve as our litmus test for being transformed instead of conformed.
Is the music I listen to "true, noble, and praise-worthy"? Am I focused on having the "adornment of a meek and quiet spirit" or am I focusing on my outward apparel? Is my conversation edifying to the hearer?
Let us be set apart, but let it be with grace. We must be very careful to not let pride creep in and destroy us. It's so easy to confuse "set apart" with righteousness. We aren't "more Christian" because we are set apart. We are set apart because we are Christians.
"For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." Romans 12:3