conform vs transform
"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 12:2
Being different is an intentional goal for Christians. We are not supposed to function under the same rules and ideas as the rest of the world. In the eighties it was popular to claim that Christianity was counter-cultural.
This is exactly what Paul establishes in Romans 12. Paul calls on new believers to move from a passive conforming existence to a proactive transformative life, from being adaptive to being renewed.
People who are unsure or unwilling to believe in the Gospel will take little to no action. This means that they can remain passive in their faith or understanding of God and simply conform to the existing ways of the world.
In conforming to the pattern of this world we get the word picture of someone who simply slides into behavioral patterns, thinking patterns or value patterns because they simply go with the flow. To conform is to be passive and not display any resistance. To conform to the ways of this world is simply to keep living without resistance, without conscientiousness and allow the patterns, ideas and ways of the culture to guide you and shape you.
To be transformed on the other hand is an act of renovation. Renovation involves intentionality, discernment and vision. To be transformed is to be made new thus we have to discard the old or that which gets in the way and we have “gut” ourselves out the way in which we would gut out an old kitchen to bring in the new updated version.
Paul is calling on us to realize that faith in Jesus is not a passive venture but one that requires discipline, commitment and dedication. To this effect if we read the verse prior to Romans 12:2 we come to see that the prerequisite to being transformed is presenting oneself as a living sacrifice. Thus meaning that we surrender all to God and once the “deed” has been given to God we now begin the renovation process.
The movement begins to grow, to allow the righteousness of God to reveal the sin in our lives and to help us understand what it means to be forgiven so we may be freed to walk in righteousness with God in Christ Jesus.
Today I urge you to be aware of the decisions you are making. Resist the trend to passively conform and submit yourself to be transformed into the person God would have you be. Its not always easy but the word of God will guide you and the Spirit of God will work in you to bring you to the place where you will be part of God’s will in this place.