Conformity…A Good Thing?
A couple of years ago, when my daughter Mariah was entering middle school, she asked me to buy her some flip flops. These were not just any old flip-flops; these were “Rainbows”. When I saw the price tag that went along with these very popular flip-flops, I wanted to know what was the big deal! They weren’t even cute. They were just plain brown flip flops. This is when the sales pitch started.
Mariah began persuading me that these shoes were not just ordinary flip-flops. These sandals conformed to the foot of the owner. She explained that the more they were worn, the better they fit. Therefore, she needed to purchased the Rainbows at the beginning of the summer so that they were totally broken in before school started. In fact, she had even had some friends who wore their sandals in the shower or in the ocean to help speed up this breaking in process. The goal was to conform the shoes to her feet so that they felt natural and comfortable.
For those of us who have been Christians for a while, we have heard often that we are not to be conformed to this world. Romans 12:1 says, “ And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” NKJV
We are not to be conformed to the world – to its standards, its priorities, its demands, but we are not told just what not to do. We are also told what we should be conformed to. We are encouraged in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.” The Message
The Holy Spirit and the Word of God in our lives is like the water on the flip flops. When we are in a place where He can pour out onto us, His presence and walking with Him becomes natural and more comfortable. Just as I daily get into the shower where the water can pour down onto me, Jesus wants to pour down upon me His presence and love. It is this love, acceptance and peace that help to break in the flip-flop called my life. My walk with Him becomes more comfortable and soon His is the only shoe in my closet I want to wear.
Does the Lord and His ways feel comfortable to you? Has your life been “broken in”? This process is not always an easy one. A couple of years ago, Mariah pitched me another type of shoes. In the ‘80’s we called these “boat shoes”. I guess now they just go by their brand name – Sperries. The story was the same – she needed to get these shoes early so she could break them in before school started. You know, the first couple of days with these shoes was so painful for her! Wearing them all day long brought painful blisters. After a couple of days of discomfort, Mariah threw them in the back of the closet not to see them again for many months. One unlucky Saturday, Mariah’s chore was to clean out her closet. She discovered these cute, long lost shoes! Why hadn’t she been wearing them? She couldn’t remember why she had discarded them and relinquished them to the punishment of the back of the closet. Then the memory came back – the painful blisters!
Sometimes, we approach “being a Christian” the same way. We don’t gradually ask the Lord to help us; to transform us Himself. Maybe we go to a women’s conference and come home saying, “This time is it! I am going to change! I am going to be a better Christian – a better mom, wife or co-worker. I am going to read my Bible every day, join a Bible study and never miss a Sunday morning.” We wake up Monday morning ready to take on the world, only to beat ourselves up on Wednesday because we missed a day in our reading the Bible in a year chart. Walking with Jesus is not one gigantic choice. It is not one long day of trying to break in brand new shoes. Instead, Jesus asks us to walk with Him, one step at a time. To allow Him to transform our lives with each small choice we make; breaking in the shoes of our lives a little at a time.