Sunday, July 16, 2006

Conformity vs. Maturity?

Romans 12:1-2 (The Message) says:
So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
I was listening to the latest (last week's) National Community Church's talk on the "Neurology of Faith - Message 4". He used this passage and version when talking about conformity. My take-aways from this talk...
  • Conformity can be another word for hypocrisy. If we conform to those around us because we want to fit in, it may not be what we really want to be.
  • Our brains do not distinguish between observation and doing. Mark talks about an injured diver several years ago who practiced her dives mentally and came back quickly because the same thought processes prepared her brain.
  • Pick those you hang around with carefully. It is easy to mirror those around us. If we keep our sights focused on God, we stand out in a crowd.
For some reason, I woke up last night thinking about some of the Bible teaching I received years ago that I believe was errant. Not things that really make a difference in the theology I believe but more in the dogma I live out. On the other hand, the conformity that these teachings promoted were really just knee jerk reactions to the world around us at the time. Of course, I was expected to conform to those teachings and, unlike the verse above, was not, as a result often able to "Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.".

1 comment: said...

Wow! Pretty deep thinking for so early in the morning. But I totally agree. It's so hard for me to keep myself from trying to conform, especially at work. At best, I rely on God to steer me in the right responses. Not always sure that's fair to my employees, because I tend to be more forgiving than most bosses, but I have their respect.

I appreciate your insight, though.