Glencairn Methodist Church
September - 2011
St Paul in his letter to the Church at Rome gives this advice to the 1st Century Christians there; it is probably good for us as well:- "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world" (Rom 12: 2a, NIV). Eugene Peterson, in his version of the Bible, The Message, puts it like this, "Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into to it without even thinking." and Tom Wright, in his commentary on Romans, gives, "Don't let yourselves be squeezed into the shape dictated by the present age."
In what ways might a Christian in 2011 become so well-adjusted to, or squeezed into the prevailing culture without even thinking about it? Let me suggest one or two things that might be considered "small" and not worth getting itchy about. But what do you think? Can you think of others?
What about driving within the speed limit set for the road we are on? In today's fast cars with great acceleration and "stop on the spot" brakes, it really is sooo hard to keep within the limit. It is so easy just to "go with the flow" and drive at 40 in a 30 zone and at 80 on the motorways. "Well everybody is doing it; I would only be holding others up if I kept my speed down; there is no danger on this road; it feels to be far too slow", we might offer as excuses.
What about using the Office computer during Office hours for personal net surfing? "Well, everybody, even the boss, does it; it doesn't cost anybody anything and I can always make the time up later."
And there are larger things in our lives that might be considered more serious, matters concerning honesty, finance, fidelity, where we simply conform to the pattern of the world, without troubling our consciences too much.
Why should we be concerned with these things? Well, on the whole such things are against the law of the land or the Law of God and punishment might ensue. (If you think that the law of the land is wrong, then use the democratic process to get it changed.) Furthermore, disregard for things like keeping within the speed limit simply demonstrates lack of consideration and respect for our fellow citizens.
Paul's advice to the Romans, and to us, is to be counter-cultural. He writes in verse 2b, "but be transformed by the renewing of your mind". In other words, stop and think about what you are doing, and ask, "Would Jesus do this?"
Driving within the speed limit gets easier with practice and a few penalty points on your licence!
29 August 2011
NOTE - Previous "Monthly Messages" are archived at http://glencairn.connor.anglican.org/previousmessages.htm