Patterns of the World
Tuesday, July 27, 2010


“Do not conform any longer to the patterns of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” (Rom. 12:2)


                Forgive me for returning once again to the passage I speak of so often, but events of the weekend, caused me to want to revisit.  This past weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to spend time with the last living member of the three sisters who made up my mother and two aunts.  I was reminded once again how important the gift of family is.  This was brought loudly home when my aunt said, almost so that no one could hear, “I miss my sisters.”  I miss her sisters too, but joyfully as fast as time is passing – not for long.  But something else happened this weekend which brings me back to Romans 12:2 and that was a reminder that Christians are far more informed by the world than they are the word of God.  In fact, the voice of the world has become so loud in their lives, that truth is overshadowed by the voice of National Public Radio and opinions are molded and shaped by the overpowering voice of the government machine.


                While it would make me feel a little better to rant and rave about the abuses I heard over the weekend, it would do neither you nor me any good.  But it would do us both good to remember what truth must inform our lives as Christians.  The truth of God is so poignantly displayed in the first 11 chapters of the book of Romans.  We see in great detail so much of what God has done for us in Christ Jesus.  He has brought us from death to life (even while we were still sinners).  He has removed the condemnation, and made us more than conquerors.  He has given us a vessel to daily come into His presence and know that even when we do not know how to pray, He will hear from the bottom of our hearts – even when our hearts are black.  And He made it clear that nothing (that means not anything – neither height nor depth; angels nor demons; life nor death; nor anything else in all of creation) will separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.  God has done all this, now Paul says, “Here is your proper response to a God who has done all that.”  “Make your bodies living sacrifices.”  I fear that what I heard over the weekend about what shapes some peoples’ lives begins by rejecting, not the response, but what God has done.  That is what saddened me the most.


                For the Christian, what informs our lives must first and foremost be the Word of the Living God.  It must define us, shape us, and be the filter through which we listen to Fox News, National Public Radio, or God forbid, NBC news.  We are instructed to first and foremost not to conform to the patterns of the world.  There are many patterns out there which are very destructive to humanity and these patterns are displayed as right and righteous by those who advocate them.  These patterns are hate and distrust; worship of animals and idols; putting our trust in political systems to have transforming power (remember how millions flocked to the polls to vote for change and now how we are praying that millions more will flock to the polls to unchanged the change); by cynicism of every political tenet we disagree with; by exalting immorality as a way of preserving dignity; by diminishing God’s word to exalt man’s ideals; and these list could go on for the rest of day and year.  But the point is, these are patterns of the world, and Christians are admonished to not be conformed to these patterns.  The only pattern we are to lay down in front of us is the pattern of God.  And make no mistake about it, there is only one place we can find that pattern – the Word of God.


                I am a preacher by heart.  But make no mistake about it, when I study God’s word and preach it to you, it is one step removed from the Word of God (no matter how accurately I try to discern it).  The only place where you can get the undiluted Word of God is for you to pick up your Scriptures and read them.  Don’t let preachers, Christian authors or musicians, or news commentators tell you what is in the Word of God.  Find out for yourself.  For example, doctrine of the modern church has shifted from the lostness of people to the degradation of the environment.  This is not because there is any such emphasis in God’s word in this regard (au contraire: read Jonah 4), but because we have placed our trust in the patterns of this world.  Christian – be transformed by the renewing of your minds. 

                 There are two kinds of people attending our churches today -- those who are conforming to the world (you will find these people in the liberal and legalistic churches) and those who are being transformed by the renewing of their minds (you will find these where the Word of God is unashamedly proclaimed with grace and power).  I don’t know which category you find yourself in, but I would admonish you, if you have any desire to know God’s will for your life, the life of your family, and the life of your nation, then run, don’t walk to where the renewing of your mind can take place.  For the completion of the passage, “Do not conform to the patterns of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” ends with these words – “Then you will know what God’s will is, His good, perfect, and pleasing will.”


Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455

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