Conformed or Transformed~ Part 1-3
“Conformed’ means to assume an outward expression that does not come from within. It is basically to masquerade, to put on a mask. If we are doing ’something’ for Christ then it is possible it is an act of conformity.
I often write that I went through a time of bondage – in regard to homeschooling. In fact, while the bondage manifested itself through my homeschooling life, it was in fact a spiritual matter…isn’t that usually the case?
I found myself being convinced of many things…things that sounded so good and worthy. I wanted them for my life, for my family. But in fact, I was conforming to the world…even though in this instance it was conforming to an ideology – the Christian homeschool community. I spent hours on forums (blogs weren’t around then) reading about how others lived and what they did…and I wanted it too!
I failed to see any contradiction when it came to this conforming issue. As a Christian I didn’t recognise this conforming struggle…I was blinded by well meaning, articulate arguments instead of being renewed in my mind. I was trying to conform, not to the ‘non-believing word’ but the Christian homeschool world – which is still not Christ! So with that in mind I’ll list some of the things that I struggled with – in my process of trying to conform to the “Christian homeschool community”
- Wearing dresses only – long, plain dresses so as not to draw too much attention to myself.
- Going without makeup and jewelry, although I did continue to shave my legs.
- Dressing my girls in similar attire.
- Being impractical with our lifestyle: Hey! We really do like SciFi and white bread!
- Watching only tv shows or movies that other Christian homeschoolers approved of!
- Training the children to outward obedience.
The list goes on…
Conformity is outward based. It is rules based. Don’t touch. Don’t associate. Don’t eat. Don’t taste. Be in fear. Make rules, guidelines, policies, ways based on that fear. (Col 2:20-23)
Another problem is that conformity isn’t In-Your-Face-Obvious. It is subtle. I can feel good, maybe even just a little righteous…I can feel that my life is pleasing to God…that my stances and actions are pleasing to Him. In fact, I could really enjoy this nice, clean, noble, higher life. But it doesn’t mean that the Lord is pleased. I’ve had to ask myself. Is God pleased with me? If so, WHY is He pleased? (In other words, is any righteousness or pleasing my doing or that of Christ?) What have I done that pleases Him? If the answers to these questions don’t line up with the same theology of grace that I read in His word, then something is wrong!
Often all the rules that we build our lifestyle around are based on outward attributes – dress, behaviour, food, manners, etc. In the Colossians verse, Paul says these things are the commandments of men. Let us not be fooled into thinking that our man made rules will please God. Our good, clean life…our living according to the rules is flesh based. It is not grace based and it does not please God. (See Romans 8:8)
I had to look at my heart. Assess my motives. Ask God to reveal the depths of my heart to me, for in my flesh I can be quick to deny my sin. However, God heard the cry of my heart…He knows that my desire is for Him…He was faithful. Through revealing my sin (of pride, comparison, conformity) He has shown me more of Himself…of His total grace and He is now doing a transforming work in my heart and my life. I haven’t lost anything by giving up or by dying to self – but I gained an immeasurable wealth. Go on, I urge you to also, it’s worth it.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
(English Standard Version)