It occurred to me that there’s a difference between being non-conformist in a rebellious, oppositional sort of way and a strong, independent way (don’t really know how to describe it).
Romans 12:2 exhorts us to “not conform…to the pattern of this world”. A number of people have told me that they really respect me because I’m not afraid to be myself, do my own thing, because I “do not conform”… I hope they meant more than this, but I think about my refusal to have anything to do with anything girly – wear dresses, skirts, makeup, etc. Haha. That’s probably the most obvious way I choose not to conform – wearing a “Dare to be Different” shirt to prom instead of a dress…. Okay, anyway. Trivial example, maybe, but just go with it. Haha. Thinking about this begs the question of why I choose to avoid those things. There are two likely options:
- I honestly have no desire to wear those things.
- I don’t like/disapprove of what I see and so even though I might not actually be ethically or whatever-ly opposed to those things, I refuse to have anything to do with them.
The second represents an oppositional approach; the first, an ‘independent’ one. I don’t know if I’m explaining this properly because I don’t really know how to. But the point I’m trying to make is that as Christians, we need to set ourselves apart – not by reacting to what we see in the world, but by looking to God for directions. His Word provides us with commands and instructions for how to behave and conduct ourselves. By nature, it’s radically different from the world. But we must never confuse the source of the motivation. Creating an identity that is in opposition to the world may look the same from the outside, but its roots don’t grow deep. God isn’t the source of that identity.
And that’s dangerous.
That’s where the rest of the verse comes in: “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”, according to God’s Word and Spirit. Who we are must stem from who He is and what He says.