Gay & Conformed
Paul says in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform any longer 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.”
What does it mean to conform? The term means to act according to prevailing rules, or to comply with laws or decrees. The more interesting definition of conformity is perhaps to look at what the opposite of it means. Several sources I consulted claimed that the opposite of conformity is one who rebels or the act of rebellion. We know that being a rebel or participating in rebellion is not acting in accord with obedience to norms or laws. When a parent describes a teen son or daughter as expressing rebellion, they're saying that that child is not abiding by the rules and furthermore is living by his or her own self generated rules.
So what does Paul mean when he says do not be conformed to the pattern of this world? Just what is the pattern of this world? As Andy Stanley has put it, we are the traitor race. And as the traitor race we have rebelled against God both in the Garden of Eden and of course continuously ever since. The pattern of this world can be summed up in three words: “rebellion against God.”
When I realized that I was homosexual, I set out to be a good homosexual. In fact, I wanted to be a great homosexual. I wasn't really looking at it from God's point of view but merely my own earth-centered and selfish point of view. I had desired to conform to what the world says a homosexual is and how a homosexual acts. I had not taken into account God's point of view or anything in the spiritual realm and tried to figure out and shape what kind of person I was to be. The pattern I was following was that of this world's. In case you did not notice, that is exactly the same world view that led Adam and Eve to rebel against God in the Garden of Eden and that led to the expulsion by God of Adam and Eve from the Garden never to return. We as children of theirs have inherited that sad tendency for rebellion against authority, mainly against the authority of an all-powerful and Holy God.
Everything changed when I came to the conclusion that rebellion against God in any form is wrong. Rebellion to me meant willful disobedience of how He wants me to live. The question I had was just how does God want me to live? After a long and arduous process I came to the conclusion that it was incompatible for me to actually live the homosexual lifestyle and still claim that I love God above all else. I would still be homosexual unless He helped me change that, but I would refuse to life a life that reflected homosexuality no matter what. Yes, it was and is a sacrifice, but who said that this life should be easy, or that we can do anything our flesh desires and still get into Heaven? Oh yeah, people believing the LIE say that!
So just who does Paul claim are people who do not conform to the life that God would have them lead? He gives us a number of clues in the various scriptures and letters that he has written in the New Testament.
Peter sheds some light on this question in 1 Peter 1:14, “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.” What are these evil desires he talks about? Paul in Romans 2:8-9 tells us, “But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” It seems that Paul and Peter are on the same page when it comes to conformity and non-conformity.
Paul further states in 2 Tim 3:2-5, “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power.”
It is in these verses that Paul tells us what types of people will have great difficulty entering into the kingdom of heaven. And the underlying aspect I believe of all of these attributes is the three word summary phrase, “rebellion against God.” With 20/20 hindsight I now see that my desire to be a so-called good (or even great) homosexual was in fact rebellion against God. Eventually with the help of the Holy Spirit and some people in my life who cared about me I came around to see the truth and the light.
So as I see it conforming to God is putting ourselves into a mold that is exactly shaped like Jesus. Many years ago when I was a young tyke at summer camp one of the tasks we did was to make some small figures out of plaster of paris. Some were of historical people, some were small objects that could be decorated when dry. I actually enjoyed that very much even though it wasn't hard at all to do. Basically I mixed the materials until it became kind of a soupy liquid, and then poured it into a small rubbery mold of what ever statue or object that I had chosen to use for my creation. I don't remember how long it took to dry, but when it was finally dry I basically peeled off the rubbery mold, leaving a small figurine of whatever person or thing I was trying to make. I would then paint it to make it look more lifelike and realistic. It certainly would have been impossible for me to decently sculpt anything out of dried plaster of paris that looked anything like anyone or anything that could be recognized. The rubbery mold thing was required to make up for my sculpting shortcomings!
When I poured that plaster of paris soupy liquid into the mold, amazingly it had no choice but to conform to the mold into which it was being poured. The liquid magically took on the form and shape of whatever the mold was attempting to depict. When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I wanted to be and still desire to be a liquid that can be poured into a mold of who Jesus is. Pouring my life into a rubbery mold of Jesus does not make me into Jesus but rather gives me an image that reflects His image. And as I go through life having been molded to the image of Jesus although not perfectly because of my human DNA and sin-nature, I want others to look upon me and say, “hey there's someone who looks like Jesus.” Every day I paint just a little more of the now-solid image of Christ in my life to make it look even more realistic. When I come before the Great Throne, I want God to say, “hey, that looks just like my beloved Son! How beautiful!” Remember we are not talking about what one looks like on the outside, but rather what one looks like on the inside —who he or she is deep down inside.
That is what it means to me to be conformed to a Christlike life. It means simply to be poured into a mold of Jesus and allowing oneself to be shaped into the kind of person that He is. When I refer to pouring into a mold I'm not talking about a physical mold that depicts the face of Jesus, but rather a mold that depicts His Holiness and how He instructed us to live according to His will. Paul mentions in Romans 12:2, transformation by the renewing of one's mind. I believe that you can more effectively renew your mind and be transformed by pouring yourself into the mold of Jesus. This mold cannot be bought at any arts and crafts store, it must be obtained by asking and inviting Jesus into your personal life. Only then will He give you that rubbery mold into which you can pour your life to be conformed into His amazing image! Only then can you begin to paint the person in that mold that will look even more like Christ and reflect His image of holiness and righteousness.
I may still be struggling with my homosexuality, but I want that part of my personality to be part of the mold that is conformed to Christ. It is often challenging to do that 24 hours a day, but with the help of the Holy Spirit and by avoiding unnecessary temptation it is not only possible, but mandatory. It is all part of my deep down desire to bring glory to God in the highest in everything I say and do. Being conformed to the image of Christ goes a long way to bringing glory to God his father.
Maybe you should look at what pattern you are pouring yourself into. Are you pouring yourself into the pattern of this world with all of its evil and rebellion, or are you seeking to pour yourself into the mold of Christ so that you may take on his qualities and attributes for the purpose of bringing glory to God the Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit? Being conformed to Christ is not merely a destination is also a journey, a journey that often times can be challenging as we allow the pattern of this world to come into our mind and pollute it with the pleasures of this life. As Paul would suggest, renew your mind by pouring yourself into the mold of Jesus for His good glory. No matter what the sacrifice, it will be totally worth it. Perhaps not in this life that you live today, but most certainly in the life to come beyond this one.
When you stand at the Great Throne of Heaven on that final day, who will God the Father claim that you look like? What mold will you have poured yourself into in this life? The pattern of the world, or the incredible, beautiful beyond words and righteous image of Jesus Christ?
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