Conformity Is Overrated. Be Transformed!
We are in the Advent season, the time before the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ, Jesus the Messiah. I imagine that some of you may still be remembering this very different Thanksgiving celebration that we had to experience on last Thursday. My family gathering was smaller than ever and the majority of my family, the Cain family, connected for a Zoom call where we could meet safely and not run the risk of sacrificing our health. I have heard from more than a few of you that you followed the same path.
But, Thanksgiving, as far as a particular day, is over now although thanksgiving should be something that we forever embrace in giving God praise, honor, and glory.
And, in giving God praise, honor, and glory, we should understand that doing so will require us to be different from many of those around us.
When we began our new lives as Christians, everything was supposed to change in some way. Your health outcomes are supposed to be different when you decide to follow Jesus. Your wealth outcomes are supposed to be different when you decide to follow Jesus. Your relationship outcomes are supposed to be different when you decide to follow Jesus.
Are you experiencing any difference in your life?
If not, it may be because while you may say that you have decided to follow Jesus, your mind, heart, and spirit are not yet in agreement with what sometimes comes out of your mouth.
Being conformed to this world, we have learned how and when to say the right things to the right people in the right places. We have assimilated. We have conformed.
And, in doing so, we have given up something incredibly valuable in the process, our true, authentic selves, who God desires for us to be.
Conforming helps you to get along with life on this side of glory BUT conforming can keep you from experiencing the abundant life on this side of glory in preparation for the blessed life on the other side of glory.
Jesus came to offer you something better than conforming. He did not conform. He came to offer truth that would set you free which implies that apart from Jesus' truth, you are not free. No! In many ways, you are just conforming to a world that does not have your best interests at heart; for, this world, absent from God, does not have the heart of God.
Need some proof.
In the richest country in the world with more billionaires in this world, those who need adequate healthcare the most, the poor, are debated away by politicians who would rather cut taxes than save lives.
In a country where entrepreneurship is prized and upward mobility is the goal, the wealth disparity is such that being born poor is basically a socio-economic death sentence to many in a land where our Declaration of Independence says that all men are created equal, maybe by God but not in relationship with one another.
In a country where people have more social and relational freedoms to try to be who they want to be and do what they want to do, the US has one of the highest rates of depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug use in the world leading to greater division instead of unity in the land of the free.
Beloved, conformity is overrated. God desires better for us. God expects better for us. God has better for us.
And, where does it begin?
It begins when we accept our newness in Christ as an opportunity to be transformed, transformed from the expectations of this world, renewing our minds to embrace the better that is only found in God through Jesus Christ as guided by the Holy Spirit, and begin to think, feel, and act differently from the pressures to conform to a broken world that produces the fruit of broken people. In other words, it is time to repent.
When John the Baptist was out in the wilderness baptizing those who wanted to repent, the social and religious powerbrokers, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, came out to get baptized too. John threw a little shade on them by calling them vipers, poisonous snakes whose bites and strikes could kill. He also wanted to know who had called them out to get baptized, to turn from their wicked ways, to physically go into the water one way and symbolically come out of it another, to repent.
At some point, the cost of conformity is the weight that you carry in being less than you know that you should be. To let go of that weight, you have got to change your mind so that you can change yourself. You have got to repent so that you can be transformed. It works no other way.
You will not lose the extra weight until you decide to live differently and lose the extra weight, be the weight physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually in your health, your wealth, or your relationships.
And, when you stop conforming to who is not you and what is not working for you, then you will begin the process of transformation. And, something else will happen.
As John said in Matthew 3:8, you will, "Bear fruit worthy of repentance."
Beloved, the fruit of your life will be revealed physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually in your health, wealth and relationships. When you begin to change your mind about some things, conformity will leave and transformation will appear. It all begins when you decide to change your mind. Nobody else can do it for you. It starts with you. And, when you change your mind, God will be there to embrace you, receive you, love you, and help you to be who God desires for you to be.
And, you will bear fruit giving evidence that you are no longer conforming. No! You will be transformed!
The Advent season is about getting ready for transformation through repentance. Jesus came to offer transformation through repentance. In this season, do not miss the best gift that you may ever receive in your whole life, transformation through repentance.
Conformity is overrated. Be transformed!
We will connect together for Noonday prayer. Conforming to norms might keep some away. I encourage you to repent and be transformed. We will have our sermonic broadcast, Zion Memorial's sermonic broadcast, at 3pm on The Light radio station. Conforming to norms might keep some from listening and inviting others to listen as well in this evangelistic outreach of our church family. I encourage you to repent and be transformed. And, simply calling another brother or sister in Christ with a word of love and support is available to all of us. Conforming to norms might make you only care about you and yours. I encourage you to repent and be transformed.
And, when you repent and are transformed, get ready for God to bless you in ways that you cannot imagine.
And, along the way, remember that God loves you and I love you too!