It’s a verse in your Bible which you no doubt have great familiarity. Romans 12:2 reads, “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.” (NKJV) The word that we find ‘conformed’ could be translated ‘fashioned’ or in a very literal way ‘squeezed.’ In other words, don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold. Isn’t that a word picture difficult to miss? We know of molds used from our children using Play-doo to cookie cutters fashioning a certain shape, to metal being shaped or formed into something usable. The truth is, the world around us is constantly trying to squeeze all people into its mold. Let’s ask two questions of this text:
- What is the world spoken of in this verse? The word in this verse is speaking of a period of time or age. The thrust of this verse is Paul commanding God’s people to not be shaped by the thinking or popular thought of the day. In the first verse of the chapter, inspiration teaches that we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God. The appeal is to give God our all. If we truly are giving God our all, there will be nothing left to have squeezed into the mold the world would like for us to be in. Doesn’t this make sense? Tragically, however, with some, the standard by which to determine an act of morality is the current and popular practice of others. This is known with an expression like, “Everyone is doing it.” Have you considered the principle stated in Exodus 23:2? “You shall not follow a crowd to do evil…” The world will do its best to squeeze God’s people into its mold, but the world is never to be our standard – we must resist this temptation!
- What are some areas we need never to conform? Those who are striving to be holy must not conform to the world’s standards of dress (1 Timothy 2:9-10). Its unpopular perhaps to point out, but in our exciting back-to-school pictures, it is increasingly difficult to see children being raised in homes striving to honor the Lord and those being squeezed into the mold of the world. Shorts are shorter (not just females), shirts are tighter (not just females), and words and expressions on them are not always God honoring. This needs to be given serious consideration. We are not to be conformed to the world in our speech (Ephesians 4:29). Once again, social media has provided a platform for many to use words that are not at all seasoned with grace. We must be careful that we do not allow the world to squeeze the Lord out of the words we choose to use and the arguments we feel the need to pursue. Our words should be used to build up the Lord in the eyes of others – always!
We must not be conformed to the world in our recreational choices (1 Thessalonians 5:22; Romans 12:9). May we consider strongly the influence we are having on others through the choices that we make and what activities we are a part of. Yes, this includes the things we eat and drink, the places we go, the crowds we choose to be with.
Our bodies really do not belong to us, but we have been purchased with the precious blood of Jesus (1 Corinthians 6:20) and therefore, may all that we do bring Him glory. May we strive to give Him our all and strive to never all the world to squeeze us into its mold!