Saturday, February 6, 2016

Conforming to the Best--by Linden Malki

Many of us like to think of ourselves as "nonconformist", but usually that means conforming to an alternate subculture, other than the larger one that we live in.  One example is dress: even if we're "out of fashion" in clothes there is usually some fashion that we are following. I recall going to a baby shower for a niece a few years ago, and noticed that most of the women my daughters' age were wearing some kind of jeans, and most of the older women (many of them Middle Eastern) were wearing black skirts or dresses.  
Religious communities have fashions as well; they can range from very old-fashioned and conservative to very casual. In some cases, they are "uniforms"; burkas and kefiyas to shaven heads to pigtails to headdresses and robes of specific types. They are also usually associated with behaviors and values, based on a founder or leader of the tradition. We see this in the early church as well; it would not be surprising to see St Paul becoming not just a mentor but a pattern for the early Church. The problem, however, with other human beings as your pattern is that just that-they are human. Paul was very aware of his shortcomings as a man, so this is how he put it to the Corinthian church: “Follow me as I follow Christ.” (1) Or “Imitate me, as I imitate Christ.” He was aware that he could not be a good model unless he was following the Best.

 John put it like this: “Any who did accept Him, he empowered to become children of God. “(2)What does this mean? “My dear people we are already the children of God. but what we are to be in the future is has not yet been revealed; all we know is, that when it is revealed, we shall be like Him because we shall see Him as he really is. (3) 

How does this happen? “Let this mind be in you that is in Christ Jesus. (4) “Your mind must be renewed by a spiritual revolution, so that you can put on the new self that has been created in God's way, in the goodness and holiness of the Truth.” (5) “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed, by the renewing of your mind.; that you may know the will of God, what s good, what is it that God wants, what is the perfect thing to do.(6)” Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things on the earth, because you have died , and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God. But when Christ is revealed--and He is your life--you too will be revealed in all your glory with Him.” (7) 

This is very challenging! We need to remember that we cannot get to this place on our own, or through anything or anyone on earth, no matter how impressive or attractive, however powerful they may seem. This power comes from Jesus the Christ, who came that we may have Life in Him!
(1)I Corinthians 11:1 (2) John 1:12 (3) I John 3:2 (4) Philippians 2:5 
(5)Ephesians 4:23 (6) Romans 12:2  (7)Colossians 3:2-4

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