BY: RUSSELL MCLAUGHLIN
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2
As disciples, we are growing up in a world where values and standards in our society are breaking down. As Christians, it is important not to let your attitudes, beliefs, values, and actions be shaped by the world but by God. This is especially important because the values of the world and the standards of God are as different as night and day.
To illustrate this difference, consider this letter by Ken Macey, the founder of a five-store warehouse chain based in Utah, to the head of another grocery chain:
“…As you know, there are many challenges in putting together a store, maintaining schedules and keeping cost in control. The thing that was the biggest challenge of all was finding people to staff the store. With the economy still slow, you would think people would be eager to work. This particular store employs a staff of 280, and yes, there were a lot of people wanting work. We interviewed and gave pre-employment tests to over 2,000 applicants. We were very nervous up until two weeks prior to opening with barely 200 employees hired. The problem was that about 1,800 of those interviewed openly admitted that they were currently stealing from their employers or had stolen in the last six months. Many were currently using illegal drugs. The real scary thing is these people didn’t see anything wrong with what they were doing!”
Our young people have peers around them at school who steal, cheat, use drugs, have sex, “party hardy”, and do not really see anything wrong with what they are doing. If we are not careful, we sometimes begin to not see anything wrong with it either. The world constantly preaches the message of normalcy: “everybody does it”, “just do you”, “it’s just the way it is”, “the new normal”, “come on you have to keep up with the times”, “do not be so old fashioned”, “if you don’t have this, you’re out, not in”, “wear this”, “believe this”, “eat this”, “do this”, “#treatyourself”. But are they following the values of the world or God? The sad thing is that many do not have a good spiritual security system built to protect them from the world. Remember Solomon’s words, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)
God is holy and has called us to be Holy. Peter states, “13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” We must remember every day that we are not to be cultural Christians, but counter-cultural Christians. As we grow in the Lord, we need to seek to find God’s values in His Word and stand out as a light in a dark world. John exhorts us, “15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (I John 2:15-17)