Comformity. Good or bad? In the church? At work? With our peers? It’s so easy to get caught in trying to be who others want us to be. We work at talking like others, dressing like others, liking thing others like, believing in processes others believe in, adhering to the same doctrines and church practices…At times it can even seem like the right thing to do – to conform. Not that conforming is always a bad thing. There are instances where just standing out or going upstream for the mere sake of it can be wrong and cause ripples of incongruence and disunity.
What needs to be taken into account though is examining the reason for such upstream swimming. Is it because we are looking just to cause problems and we like drama? Or is it because God has wired us a certain way and we feel a drawing need within to pursue Him and His purposes for our life, the very way He created us?
There is a pervasive fear for the believer that by going against the grain we are somehow being rebellious and not submitting to authority. While this could very well be the case, there are many situations where this not what is happening but instead, God is pushing us out to pursue His path for our life. He has created each of us in an individual fashion, with our own likes and dislikes, passions, strengths and weaknesses. While we need to be careful to navigate the waters via prayer and counsel from others, there are times when we will just have to take the ‘proverbial’ jump and ‘go for it’. We should do this, staying as close to Jesus as possible, letting the Word of God guide us, convict us and keep us on the straight and narrow. It can be overly easy to get off course when pursuing what God has put on the inside of us, especially if it goes against the grain and the majority thought on the subject. But if it is from the Lord, we need to follow His leading. If we don’t, we risk never doing the very thing for which He put us on this Earth. It can be a tight line to walk but I encourage you to step out. So long as your heart is lined up with God’s Word on the subject and your ultimate goal is in line with God’s great commission to see souls saved and discipled…take a chance!
One word on not stepping out: regret. Dare I say there is little worse than knowing down inside you were supposed to do something yet never doing it. Or at least, never trying to do it. When I was in High School I was overweight and never even went on a date until after I graduated. Now you may ask, “Mike, what does this have to do with anything?” I will tell you. In my senior year, I came to the point where I would rather try and fail than never try at all. After years of never even trying to ask a girl if she would go out on a date, only pondering all the negative consequences upstairs in my own head, I finally took a chance. I say this because we have to get to the place where we no longer fear rejection by others, ridicule or mockery, or even failure. Unlike my asking someone on a date, pursuing God’s purpose for our life has eternal consequences. You could be the someone that another person needs to come to Christ or have their life turned around 180 degrees. God is calling you.
Don’t let life pass you by or others talk you out of pursuing God’s dream for you life. We aren’t called to necessarily conform. The Bible calls God’s children a ‘peculiar people’. Don’t let intimidation and fear ground you from allowing God to work through you and use you in ways you never dreamed possible.
“Don’t be conformed to the pattern of this world…” Romans 12:2a