Saturday, February 5, 2022

Transformed or Conformed?

Transformed or Conformed?
by David Brenneman 

Was reading again in Romans 12, as that is our daily assignment from our Bible Study, and in Matthew 23 today.  It's interesting, always, when the Spirit connects the Scriptures in ways you haven't seen before. 

Romans 12 - the Chapter NASB "Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many parts in one body and all the body’s parts do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually parts of one another. However, since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to use them properly: if prophecy, in proportion to one’s faith; if service, in the act of serving; or the one who teaches, in the act of teaching; or the one who exhorts, in the work of exhortation; the one who gives, with generosity; the one who is in leadership, with diligence; the one who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Love must be free of hypocrisy. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor, not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never repay evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all people. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Matthew 23:8-12 NASB "But as for you, do not be called Rabbi; for only One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers and sisters. And do not call anyone on earth your father; for only One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called leaders; for only One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest of you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted."

Reading these two lead me to rethink much of what I had even been told from within the Church about leadership.  It caused me to rethink and look up the definitions to several words. To transform is an internal change. To conform is to change outward appearances.  Those two pointed me towards the Leader - Leadership issue.  Have had people intentionally pointing practically all men towards leadership positions in the Church and if you look at the popular site LinkedIn, most posts are pointing people towards being leaders. 

But what did we just read?  We who are in Christ have a job to do, for lack of a more direct way to put it. We are in the body of Christ for HIS purposes, HIS reasons. For what HE wants and needs done. 

We are reminded in Corinthians that we are His workmanship. We are a work in progress. What the Spirit starts with in us will not be what we will yet be before Christ one day. 

This world looks for conformists.

The Spirit is looking to transform. 

Jesus says that Christ is the Leader. Yet I have been around many in Columbus whereas they look like they are the one with the Vision for that particular Church and it's their way or the highway. 

I have also been taught of what we read today.  That Leadership begins with and is wrapped up in Christ Jesus. He is the head of the body, the Church.  There are those raised up within the Church to be Elders and Deacons as far as men go, and Deaconesses as far as women go. There are no women Elders nor are there women Pastors. This is from the letters to Timothy. 

In our world we are pushed, pushed, pushed to conform to the world culture. To do so is to live life as Satan has planned it.  In various times in human history to not conform meant death. We are heading back towards a period in history where that will be the case again. We read in the Bible of specific times when people of God were told to conform and they faced death. 

To transform a life it begins inside the person.  To change your way of thinking. Training the mind to do things differently on purpose with positive, Godly, results. 

To conform is to do what's necessary without change actually happening. 

In today's woke terminology its not enough to say a person supports it, they must show it emphatically that they support it. Satan's stepping up his ideology. We see in Revelation that it will encompass the world. That if you don't hold to a full allegiance to his appointed World Leader you will die. To have that allegiance seen requires a mark on your hand or forehead. 

Sounds far fetched? People are already volunteering to have identity microchips surgically implanted. It's used in the military to identify soldiers in the battlefield.  People doing it intentionally to avoid identity theft. Saw at least one story of a man doing it to fully automate his high tech house.  No wall switches anywhere and it always was aware of his temperature needs etc.

The Pharisees and Sadducees were indeed conformist people. Their ideology still exists in power hungry people in the church today.  Those in the Church are warned to beware of wolves in sheep's clothing. To beware of those trying to subvert the Church to their own ends. We are warned to beware of false teachers.  

We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. To prove what is the right and acceptable Will of God is. 

Transformed people attract those who are not. 

Conformed people do not attract anyone. 

We who are being transformed are to set our minds on the things that promote growth in Christ. Not wasting the time because the days are short.  

Conformed people live lives without hope of any positive change that benefits them.

Transformed people in Christ have the living hope of Christ and His promises. 

So which are you?  People even within the Church don't always see either.  Many have idolatry in their hearts and lives but don't recognize it as such. Many have redefined what God has said to appease their own desires rather than to reject sin as they ought to. 

You, my Dear Reader, must choose to live as Jesus intended you to live if you ever want to truly live.  To not be conformed to this world but be transformed. 

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