Sunday, July 01, 2007

Are You a Non-Conformist? Aren't We All?

Jesus had some words of warning for his Disciples prior to his Crucifixion. He told them bluntly, "The World hates me and they're gonna hate you, too. But know that they hated me first." These weren't exactly words of Comfort for those learning from their Master, but there was a load of understanding to come concerning those exact words. The known history of the disciples and a host of other followers of Christ reveals to us the reality of these words.

The sad fact is that Christians today are fighting a Holy war of their own trying to prove these words of Jesus wrong. It seems that people claiming the name of Christ are constantly trying to fit in. We seem to be enamored with the approval of those who blatantly rejected Christ in the pursuit of other things. And yet, we want to be like them. We want to experience the success they have obtained. We want to exercise the power they have accumulated.

And the whole time we seem to be pursuing this approval, they are sending us a message that we seem to be unaware of. Or at least, we ignore it. They are telling us what Jesus said. They are telling us that they hate us and the God we supposedly stand for. Oh, there's another message they send us, also. They will be happy to offer their approval of our pursuits if we will but follow the same path they have, a path which includes nothing of God. This is a path where the only thing that matters is what pleases our self. Instead of denying yourself many things in life in order to please God and live according to his ways, we are told that we must indulge our appetites and continually whet that natural desire for all things selfish.

Loving your neighbor? Not if it gets in the way of my success! Giving to others? Only if it gets me further along on my career path! And so we begin down the slippery slope of service to others for the sake of myself. We gladly join others in their self righteous groups dedicated to the public service of congratulating themselves for their selfless dedication to others. Of course, if all this recognition is a bit too much for your conscience, you can always quit! But then again, you would forfeit all the goodwill from others so carefully constructed according to your plans for success. I believe it was Solomon who said something about all being vanity and vexation of spirit.

The fact is that being a Non-Conformist is not exactly the most comfortable position to be in. As a Child of God, I am constantly being presented with requests, and sometimes demands, to change this or that. The message is being constantly broadcast to me that I need to change because I am wrong to live the way I do. My beliefs are wrong because they aren't the same as others who name the name of Christ.

Some who believe that I am not about to change attempt to reach others in my family, namely my wife and children, in order to save them from my non conformity. After all, why should they bear the shame and reproach simply because their husband and father says this is the way God requires us to conduct our lives?

Fortunately, I am not going to give account for my life on this Earth to any other mortal human. But I will stand before a holy and Eternal God who loved me and died for my sins. Non-Conformist that He is, He allowed His creatures to hang Him on a tree because that was the plan. And He didn't allow anyone to deter Him from fulfilling every aspect of that Plan, even death. Of couse, part of that plan was also rising bodily from the dead, a future hope for all who believe in this same death, burial and resurrection.

So, all Non-Conformists who are Children of the Most High God need to keep one fact before them as they face opposition and pressure to change. We serve the ultimate Non-Conformist who allowed nothing to keep Him from the instructions of His Father for His life on this earth. With such an example before us, let us proceed, trusting Him to provide all the Non-Conforming Grace necessary for our every situation.

And those who oppose us? Unless they ultimately bow their knee and heart to Christ in faith, their non-conformity will have eternally dire consequences.
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