The seriousness of the topic of purity makes my heart ache for people out there who don’t know any better. Who haven’t been taught any better. Or, who have conformed to the world and told themselves, “it’s okay.”
A few weeks ago I posted about purity and about how it is possible. I wanted to share my view about how we shouldn’t use the word “unrealistic” in place of “difficult.” They have two completely different meanings. The way I see it, if the Word calls us to it, we can do it.
Last Thursday during the women’s bible study at my church, we watched session six of Beth Moore’s study on James. I forget what scripture verse we were on, or what fill-in-the-blank we were on, but I remember her asking us something a little like this: “Do you not take scripture seriously?” It was a reality check for sure.
This makes me think of my generation and the culture around me. I do not claim to be perfect and am no judge of others. No Christian is perfect, myself included. But I’ve watched culture collide with Christianity and the solution to the equation is often a mixture of twisted-up, distorted views on things that are not a matter of opinion.
You see, I try my best to understand the Word, and I don’t know everything about it. Every day is a journey and a hunger for more. If I’m unsure of something’s meaning, I do my research or ask an older, wiser believer for help.
And then there are times when I read verses like Romans 12:1-2, and I can’t help but think to myself, “This is so clear. This is not up for debate. This is what I’m called to do. I should take this seriously.”
Here’s that portion of scripture I mentioned, in ESV:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 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. Romans 12:1-2
I truly believe this scripture is our weapon against the battle of a transforming, ever-changing culture. Although the moral standards of the world continue to decay with each passing day, Romans 12 tells me that I must not be conformed to this world. That means not yesterday, not today, not tomorrow, and not when I’m 54 years old. Not ever.
Crossway’s ESV Study Bible’s commentary on Romans 12:1-2 includes the following:
The present evil age still threatens those who belong to Christ, so they must resist its pressure. Their lives are changed as their minds are made new, so that they are able to “discern” God’s will. “By testing you may discern” translates to Greek “dokimazo,” which often has the sense of finding out the worth of something by putting it to use or testing it in actual practice.
Let me encourage you today: don’t conform to the world (the NIV translation phrases it as an offensive, don’t-conform-on-purpose action) and do not be conformed (the ESV, NASB and KJV translations phrase it as a defensive, don’t-let-anyone-conform-you action).
It will be hard and we will be tested, but that’s how we’ll find the worth of leaving everything behind that is worldly and following Christ. Whether you’re struggling today with staying pure, fighting an addiction, or loving your neighbor, may you not be conformed to the pattern of our world. May you put off your old self and put on righteousness (Ephesians 4:21-24). It is worth it!