Don't Conform. Be Transformed!
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Phil 4:8.
As we begin the New Year do you feel like your spiritual life is blasé? Is your walk with God kind of sputtering? Do you miss that new-believer closeness that you once had with the Father through Jesus? Do you feel like your faith is dull and dry or that God is distant? I challenge you to consider those words from Paul in Philippians 4:8 and evaluate the sources of input in your life. Take an “influence inventory”:
- What programming on television do you watch or listen to? CNN, Fox News, Oprah, Jerry Springer? Crime dramas, reality TV, situational comedies, soaps? Does the world view promoted in these programs reflect God’s world view?
- What movies do you watch? Have you sufficiently desensitized your “raunchy film meter” because you fail to walk out, or turn off, movies that your gut tells you are not appropriate for you?
- Who do you listen to on the radio or podcast?
- What music do you listen to? (Don’t worry, I am not going to suggest that you cyber burn your secular music!)
- What computer games do you play?
- What spiritual conversations do you have in a week? Are you the godliest person you hang out with?
- What books are you reading? What portion of your reading contributes to your spiritual maintenance and growth? (The Bible should be a staple in this area but can certainly be complemented with many other good sources.)
- How much time do you spend praying? (talking and LISTENING to God)
Don’t kid yourself, you are greatly influenced by what you read, hear and view. Several studies show this to be true, but more importantly, so does God’s Word:
1 John 2:15-16 says,” Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.”
Also, Paul tells us in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform 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.”
You see, the battle that we have, although spiritual, starts very practically in our minds and the stuff we feed it. You know, garbage in . . . well . . . garbage in—and the result of that is a distancing from God. The Apostle John, as noted above, says that love of worldly things indicates a lack of love of the Father, they do not coexist.
If you are one that does New Year’s resolutions, consider resolving to switch out some of the sources that are influencing your life for ones that will encourage you spiritually and see if your faith doesn’t find some new life. If you (like me) are not big on New Year’s resolutions, consider cleaning up what you are putting before your eyes and ears anyway.
Happy New Year!