Conformed or Transformed?
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Many years ago, when I was still selling chemicals for Nalco, I was talking to a customer about her boss. She told me, “Dave does not speak evil of anyone. He is a true Christian. He lives it.”
How many true Christians do you know who really live it? The sad truth is this: while many go to church Sunday after Sunday, only a very few really radiate the glory of Christ. Only a very few allow the Lord to transform their lives from the inside out. Why is that?
The Bible warns us about being conformed to the world. Without a doubt, the devil exerts pressure on us to conform … to go through the motions of Christianity … to exchange internal heart worship for external rituals … to exchange a life-changing relationship with Christ to a lifeless, check-the-box religion … to be an outside of the cup Christian, a whitewashed tomb that looks good on the outside but is rotten on the inside.
Churches are filled with conformers. There are very few “Daves” to be found. But a Dave is what we are called to be. God wants us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds as we worship the Lord in spirit and truth and allow His Word and His Spirit to convict us and change us from the inside out.
HOW CAN YOU TELL?
What are the tell-tale signs of a person being conformed vs. a person being transformed?
1. The transformed fear God; the conformed fear man. The transformed are concerned about what God thinks of them, while the conformed are consumed with man’s opinion and approval. Are you living to please the crowd or to please Christ?
2. The transformed are soft clay in the Potter’s hands; the conformed are hard, stubborn and rebellious. The transformed come to the Lord saying, “Search Me, O God ... See if there be any hurtful, evil way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way” (Ps. 139:23-24). They wanted to be searched, convicted if going wrong, and changed. The conformed have no desire to be searched, convicted, or changed by God’s Word and God’s Spirit. They want their will and their way, and they hear sermons that tell them they are doing great with no need to change a thing. Are you soft clay, desirous of the Lord to mold you into His image, or are you hard and stiff-necked, thinking you are just fine the way you are?
3. The transformed shine; the conformed whine. People who worship the Lord in spirit and truth and truly desire to be transformed by Him see wonderful changes take place within them. As they walk with Jesus, they begin to radiate His glory. The sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him begins to seep from their hearts. It is awesome! The conformed, however, radiate nothing but the stench of self. Conformers gripe and complain about virtually everything. They don’t “rise and shine and give God the glory, glory.” Rather, they rise and whine and tell you the story, story. “Let me tell you what’s going on in my life: my boss stinks, my health is failing, my kids don’t call, my church is awful and my Pastor needs to be fired!” Are you a whiner or a shiner?
4. The transformed win souls to Christ; the conformed don’t. People who are allowing the Lord to change their lives from the inside out are attractive to unbelievers. The aroma of Christ on a person’s life is indeed a SWEET aroma. When all is falling apart and the transformed still have joy and peace … WOW! That gets folks attention and makes them say, “I want what you have.” The conformed, however, never win anyone to Christ. How could they? The stench of selfishness, discontentment, anger and rebellion is not very attractive, is it? Are you winning souls by your life and by your lips? If not, why not? Could it be there is no transformation taking place within you?
The time is now for Christians to get serious about transformation. Conforming to this world, going along to get along is not the Lord’s way. Christianity is all about growth and change. John the Baptist put it this way, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). May that be the cry of our hearts as we seek Him and present our bodies a living and holy sacrifice.
Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.