Every era and every generation has hosted what is popular, trending, and the “norm” for its time. If those in places of influence can make it catch on to the masses then it becomes the cultural dictate. When people go against it, they are made to feel like they are dinosaurs and out of touch with reality, socially irrelevant.
It’s no different today, except it actually seems worse to hold a different opinion or set of values and perspectives than the masses, with social media, and not be penalized for it. It’s harder than ever to maintain an individual opinion or stance when our society dictates attitudes, lifestyles and a cultural narrative that doesn’t resonate with you. It’s not a bad thing to some degree. I support live and let live. It becomes a bad thing when you are penalized for your personal perspective.
How do you build a good inner foundation for yourself that is steady, strong and consistent despite the popular opinion of the world? Where the arguments are loud and intrusive, challenging your own belief system. I believe in the Biblical narrative. It has stood the test of time. Although its expression has changed throughout the ages, its core and instruction for a functional, healthy and successful life have not. Romans 12:2 will help us to develop good, steady values and judgements for our lives.
Romans 12:2 (Amplified Translation)
Do not be conformed to this world (with it’s superficial values and customs) but be transformed and progressively changed (as you mature spiritually)by the renewing of your mind (focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes), so that you may prove (for yourselves) what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (in his plan and purpose for you).
Here's the answer. We are not to conform ourselves to this world. Most of its values, customs and ethics are superficial and fleeting. When all is stripped away, which we see happening all around us, we find most of what is being thrown at us has its foundation in greed, status and financial gain. What is valued or devalued changes depending on who sits in the seats of authority. We instructed in Romans 12:2 to ground ourselves in the morals and values of the one who created us. We were created for and with a purpose. That purpose is to bring heaven to earth and let others see who God is. To be sober minded, kind and helpful to mankind with the load each person carries. God loves us. He created us and is for us. Yet we have a society that thinks God is mad at them and has left them to flounder for his entertainment.
How did we get here? Could it be that we have not positioned ourselves to reflect him well? Or maybe our values, ethics, attitudes and judgements, have been conformed instead of transformed as instructed. How will others ever know who God is and what they were created for (which is more than eat, drink and be merry for tonight we die…) if we are not properly modeling God by His word. We have to get our minds renewed so that we can be a positive influence for change.
Truth doesn’t change. No matter what is going on, it remains a truth. It was true yesterday, today and will be forever. That’s part of it’s testimony of being true. Again, its expression may change, but not the core of it. So many things in our world that we used to be able to trust in as some semblance of truth have shown themselves untrustworthy. You’ve seen it, from our government, our medical community, relationships and even the church. Their greed and lies have been revealed. It’s horrible and it has left so many people reeling in its undercurrent with anxiety and dread. That which was supposed to keep us safe and protected has failed us royally in the past few years.
The thing is, those systems were never meant to be our security, God was. He gave us His word to teach us how to fill positions of authority with healthy values and ethics so we could remain a safe and functional society. Reality is that many have chosen to live by their own code of ethics and that’s their right. One of the greatest things God has given to each of us is the power to choose for ourselves how we want to live. The Bible is clear about the blessings and consequences that come with our choices but we are free to do as we wish. Many times over, I have been asked the question: if God is so loving and good, then how can he let babies be killed or bad things happen to good people? This is the answer. Free will. People get to choose and some choose to live only for themselves forgetting that we are all in the same boat. Greed, evil and the world’s ills leave no one exempt.
All is not lost though. There is hope. We can choose to be transformed. To renew our mind and be an influence for the better. We can choose to live to a healthier and higher standard by walking out our faith. Let’s ask ourselves if we have conformed to the narrative and opinion of this world? Have we come down a few steps from the higher life we have been called to lead? Have we become tainted by this world instead of transformed despite it? It happens. Let’s reevaluate ourselves today. I personally want to prove what is the acceptable will of God in my life (as it says at the end of the verse in Romans) so that His plan and purpose can be accomplished in and through me. Will you join me and reevaluate yourself as well?