The unique strength, beauty and usefulness of the believer’s life is found in its CONTRAST to the world never in its CONFORMITY to the world. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2 Because of our old natures, however, we must fight constantly the urge to conform …or at least be enough like the world so that it isn’t immediately apparent that we belong to Jesus.
Now there is no value in contrast for the sake of contrast alone. The wild eyed street corner preacher who yells that the world is going hell is in contrast to the people passing by, but it is a surface contrast only. The true believer is different by the very nature of his relationship to and standing with God in Christ…The believer is alive, the world is dead. The believer walks in the light, the world is in darkness. The believer has a heavenly hope, citizenship, and inheritance. The worldling has only a life that is rooted in an earthly existence.
When will we learn that we attract people to Christ and His Church by being different from the world not by being like the world? Very often the secular person doesn’t pay much attention to us professing Christians because he sees in us only a dull reflection of himself. In our desperate effort to be “relevant”, we have lost our distinctive character and power.
I am for flexibility and common sense and changing methods in ministry when necessary. And I am for charm and grace and winsomeness in witnessing, but let’s dare to be the different people God has chosen us to be. Let us remember that every true saint of God in history has stood out in stark contrast to the sick and sinful society into which God sent him to witness. He was never there to CATCH the spirit of his time, but rather to CORRECT it! Amen.