“It isn’t typical”
“It’s not normal”
“It’s not what I’m used to”
“It doesn’t seem normative to me”
“It’s not how / what I was brought up to believe was right”
Lately, I’ve been running into these statements on and off-line. Usually it’s talking about change (which has been sort of theme of my last few posts.) I get it – normal is a comfort zone, you know entirely what to expect from others and what sort of behavior is expected from you. Normal is easy, it never challenges you, it never scares you, it’s never different.
“12 (1)Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:1-2
Christianity calls you to be absolutely different than normal. And let’s make a distinction here, I’m not talking about the ‘normal’ routines Christians have turned Sundays into – much of the pattern of the world has slipped into church, corruption, lies, abuse, theft, etc.Wherever you see such things, you know that there’s nothing of Jesus there. Just look at the rest of the verse – ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.“
I’ve always wondered which meaning of ‘renew’ was most accurate in this case: to replace something that was broken, to give fresh life or strength to someone, or to re-establish a relationship … perhaps it’s all of them. After all, unless you re-establish your relationship with God by replacing that which is broken (sin) with His Son, giving you fresh life and strengthening you, how are you to be able to carry out the other part of the verse? “Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
One thing that really bothers me, is that many in the church remain in the worldly norms – if the church doesn’t renew its relationship with God, installing Jesus as it’s head (not figuratively, but acting as if that’s what they really believed.) Then it might be able to do lots of good – but it’s up to us as believers to tell others the truth. Hopefully in time churches will remember their first love, Jesus, and not the money that they have gotten carried away with. As we can see, the churches can’t carry out the last part of the verse, but many believers can.