I looked up the definition of conform. Yes, I know what it means, but often the full definition of a lot of words consists of more than we realize. This is what I found:
1) comply with rules, standards, or laws.
2) (of a person) behave according to socially acceptable conventions or standards.
3) be similar in form or type; agree.
All three definitions fit this idea of conforming, but the second one stood out to me - behaving according to socially acceptable conventions or standards.... and that perhaps fits in with the Biblical idea of conforming.
The church has become so much like the world, that we have passed up conforming to the world long ago. There isn't much that the world does that the majority of Christians will not. And even those of us who think we aren't conforming to this world most likely are in ways we don't even realize.
I tend to think of myself as a non-conformist, which doesn't make you popular.
I don't conform to all of my church's teachings and beliefs, instead trying to get them from God.
I don't conform to the push by the world and many Christians to embrace my sexuality and toss out what the Bible says about it.
I don't conform with the Republican party and support and vote for a candidate I feel I can't and shouldn't vote for.
I don't conform with the idea of what real men do and are like.
I don't conform with all of the fads and trends that come along.
There is a danger of always conforming. No, I am not advocating rebellion and never doing what people expect you or want you to do...... there is a time and place for that. However, if we constantly conform to what people want - even Christians and the church - we will soon stand for nothing, and fall for everything. Instead of God and our conscience being our guide, popular opinion becomes our guide. We lose our uniqueness, moral compass, and individuality. We cave easier to peer pressure, and are less apt to have any views or opinions that aren't approved by others around us. If the church falls, we fall with it. If society embraces some new sin or taboo thing, we also accept it.
Never have I faced more pressure to conform than I have had with this election. I am told I am as bad as the Westboro Church if I don't vote for Trump. I'm stubborn, selfish, dumb, a troublemaker, ruining my Christian witness..... and more. And this all comes from Christians. For a while, I conformed in one way and tried not to post anything against Trump.... not because I had changed my mind, but because it wasn't popular and I got a lot of heat for it.....but this week, I decided I would no longer conform in even that way. I will try to be kind, but I am done conforming.
My desire is to live completely by what God wants, and not by any outward influences. Is that even possible today? I am not sure, but it is something any follower of Jesus should strive for, even if we don't fully attain it.
It means not doing everything your family wants and expects of you.
It means not doing everything society wants and expects.
It even means not doing everything your church, pastor, and other Christians want and expect of you.
It means not doing what your body and desires want.
It may mean going against your own government and country, and facing fines or imprisonment.
It may mean not always going with the political party you're affiliated with.
And there are things we have to conform with that aren't anything that will affect us spiritually. I have to dress for work in a way I don't want to.....especially the tie..... I hate the tie..... I have to keep certain laws if I want to stay out of jail and keep a driver's license.
Those are not what the Bible is referring to. The Bible is addressing the things that will dull our relationship with God, that will hurt our Christian witness, that will make us too much like the world, that will draw our attention from Him too much, that will lower our inhibitions to sin and worldly pleasures, that will cause us to forget we are living for another world.....and so forth.
This may be a shock to those who know me very well, but I am not perfect. You may need to sit down after that revelation. Take a few deep breaths, relax and wait til your heart settles down........ I wouldn't want my past sins broadcast to the world, but they are all forgiven and under the blood.....unless I would run for public office..... :) I have plenty of room for improvement..... I know that, and am praying about it. I don't need raging Trump supporters to tell me that..... That said, no matter what our past is, if we are forgiven and serving God, that does not mean we have to accept horrible behavior in a candidate and vote for them just because "all have sinned"..... so no, I won't even conform to the Calvinists who are chirping that and saying Donald Trump's sins are no worse than mine.
I feel so strongly about this issue that I cannot as a Christian vote for the man. It would be letting down and compromising, and would most likely cause me to let down and compromise in other areas. It is sad that even Christians in my own church can't get it. They are unable to see, or they just refuse to admit that both candidates are equally reprehensible to me. Since they decided they can or have to vote for him, they feel I have no reason or justification to not go along and also vote for him.
This same determination has led me to follow God instead of the sexual desires that have tried to rule my life. This same determination causes me to not do things others do, go places others go, view things others view, drink things others drink.... I know people are viewing this election as so important that we should set aside Christian principles and vote for what they view the good of the country, but if we always give into what people want us to do for the good of something, we will never stand for anything and will end up completely conformed to the world. (And not all Christians feel they are doing that to vote for Trump, but that is what some want me to do).
I have felt so shallow for so long, and I don't want to be. I've wanted my own way, and not spent enough time on my relationship with God. Everything matters to Him. I want to be conformed to His plan and desire for my life, not others..... whether it be politics or my sexuality. I don't want to please people. I want to please Him. And that isn't popular, sometimes not even in the church.
Be not conformed to the world. I don't want that. I want to be conformed with all I am to God.