By that he posted a standard for those in Rome. They were living in a world, corrupt, sinful, out of order and yet it was the world they lived in. He was saying to them, think a new way. Start renewing your mind. Make changes that matter.
At the same time he was warning about not being affected, influenced, formed and changed into an image of the world all around them. Another translation of the 12:2 passage says it slightly differently, "Don't be conformed to the world, that is don't let the world press and form you into an image of itself". That's the essence of conforming. Being pressed into an ungodly mould.
Yet as I look at Christianity as is expressed in the USA there seems to be a belief that we are invulnerable to the influences the world has. I recognize that some sects forbid movies, TV and any forms of entertainment. Some even prohibit Smart Phones and Computers. I am not saying that we should shun such, I am saying that wisdom must reign in what we allow in our hearts and minds.
Here is a list of some of the things I see Christians being conformed to that is damaging the Cause of Christ and the Body of Christ:
- Belief in conspiracies, theories, half truths, sensationalism, false news stories, mysteries, UFOs, Bigfoot and a hundred other wacky out there ideas that sell books but draw people away from the truth of Jesus. What troubles me is that so many people are so quick to buy into these things without ever testing them. They believe the lie of the devil above the Truth of God in a second. Deception. I wondered years ago how the verse from Matthew 24:24 could be true. "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." Yet.. today as I see the level of gross deception, I now believe it can happen. We as the Body of Christ lack even basic discernment.
- Exposure to movies and television shows that has a drip drip drip effect to the point where it changes our core theologies. I recall laughing at Howard Dean when he quoted the Bible how Jonah built a fire in the whale's belly and was spit out .. that was a movie he has seen. Yet there are many people who have watched too much entertainment in horror and fantasy movies without redeeming qualities who now are baited by satan to fall. They have allowed a lie to come into their lives and no longer have the touch of God to protect them. I have even been amazed by so called Christians who have a diet of Horror Movies... satanic horror movies. Images that plant fear and anger. People no longer have a plum line of morality. I remember years ago when during a show called Moonlighting on Television the couple who were main characters engaged in Fornication and people were shocked (this was in the mid 80s). Now you can hardly watch a TV show or Movie without it being not only common but good Christans who dance and sing in Church root for the two to "Get it Together". This is manifesting itself in sad damaging ways. Many churches are populated mostly by mothers who are raising children on their own. They are trying, but they bought the lie. It is not overnight, it's is a drip drip drip affect.
- There is cultural pollution of the Mind that is going on. Whoever you identify with and hang out with will form who you become. This can be for good or bad. Many people for reasons that I don't fully grasp will identify with a class or culture that is in decline or fully corrupt. Unfortunately the appeal of these identity cultures are many time led by influential people who are ready to tell you that "It's not your fault" Blame the OTHER. In Germany during Nazi years the Other was the Jew. We know how that came out. But we have that today in large portion. Blaming others for the maladies that exist in the world. I am guilt of this sometimes. I am unwilling to see things from another point of view. Here's the reality, IF you are of the opinion that everything that is wrong in the world is because of THEM... you are the problem.
- The intentional ignorance that has captured Christians is the most troubling. The lack of depth of understanding among so called Christians of what should be basic issues is profound. We all laugh at the Jay Walking street interviews, many times with people who are teachers who cannot identify leaders in government here or otherwise. Who have no idea of national issues of consequence. Yet can quickly identify pop and reality stars and can quickly rehearse the cause celeb of the day. They are narrow and way behind. Being ignorant is not Godly.
- The last factor is what we read, what we listen to, what we allow ourselves to hear, the influencers in our lives. In a very real way they make us into who we are. If we are consuming junk food only we become unhealthy. That's not God's best for us. Even many who are good students of the Bible can be swayed an the leaven of the culture that infects them.
Here's what I hear the Father Say, "Be diligent on what you see and hear. You are not defiled by what goes into you but what comes out from you. Yet what goes into you will eventually spill out from a polluted soul. Guard your heart. Don't give the enemy room to set up his tent and erect strongholds. There are enemies that lurk in darkness disguised as light.. they are not. I desire you to be without spot or wrinkle and that includes your heart, your mind and your soul. Allow my Spirit to be in control and act as the umpire of your life. I only want the best for you. Stand firm, resist the devil and he will flee."