March 14, 2017
Let me begin with a brief update to my last rumination. I have received no phone call from the Dr’s office so I take that as a good news. Ellen is anxious for me to call which I will do, but I was told, “No news is good news.” Now on to more important things…
Years ago I heard a story about how folks learn to detect counterfeit money. I honestly have no idea if this is true, but it makes a great point none the less. If you want to train people to spot fake money you have two choices: You can either have them become experts on every deceptive practice and every fake currency. OR, you can train them to spot authentic money so when they see something that is other than what they know to be genuine, it has to be counterfeit. Does that make sense? When you know the real thing it makes it possible to distinguish the false thing.
There are many things in this world for Christians to be involved in, to take a stand on, to demonstrate on behalf of. There have to be thousands of “places” where we can choose to “drive our stakes in the ground.” Many of them are very worthwhile. Too many of them are a waste of time or out of order in regard to priorities. You know, like “save the cockroaches!” Or “let’s grow better marijuana for those who can make the argument that they NEED it.” We need more of these sorts of earth shattering kinds of things don’t you think?!
No doubt the world is a complicated place. Very much complicated because of sin. One of the things I do know about the world is this: Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
It’s interesting to note the difference between the words “conformity” and “transformation.” The prefix “con” means “with.” So “conformity to the world” literally means to “be with” the world. And let’s be honest… going back to elementary school when all of a sudden we became aware of “style,” we all wanted to “be with it.” Right? At the very least, we DIDN’T want to be social outcasts. We all remember those kids… or maybe we were those kids. Either way, it’s painful to recall. Given a choice, most of us choose to be “with it.” That attitude or value greatly reflects how we find ourselves adopting the worlds “ways.” Paul says in Romans that we are clearly NOT called to “conform” to the world but in fact we are called to “be transformed.”
The prefix “trans” means to be “above and beyond.” So when Paul says we are to be “transformed” it means we are “…to be above and beyond the standards of this world, not in the sense that we are to elevate ourselves in lofty status above everybody else, but that we are called to a more excellent way of life.” [i] Why is it that so many Christians look just like others in the world? I think it has something to do with counterfeit things. We are caught up in the things of the world because we do not know or recognize what is real and true. We spend our time and resources spinning our wheels on things that do not draw us closer to The Author of all Life and Truth.
No doubt we all know this verse from the Gospel of John, chapter 14, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ I certainly do not object to folks fighting for all kinds of causes. But I am very much opposed to Christians taking positions that do not reflect the Truth of Jesus. Or, frankly having lousy attitudes that do not reflect the grace, peace and love of our Lord! What does that mean then? It means that we need to become experts on The Messiah. We need to be so familiar with Jesus that we can tell when something is contrary to Him. We must allow the Holy Spirit to cause us to be “transformed” so that we are not walking in lock step with the world.
This is not a process that occurs on one occasion. It is a spiritual reality that comes with maturity, study, vulnerability and hard work. Do you know the Real Thing well enough to distinguish it from pretenders? The New Testament is filled with references to people falling for deceptions and false teachings. You and I are not immune. If you think you cannot be deceived… you already have been!
No Jesus… no truth.
Know Jesus… Know Truth.