Nonconforming Servants of God
A devotional by Christa MacDonald
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 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.”
–Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)
Humans are social critters. We like to form groups, clubs, tribes, alliances and then define who’s in and who’s out. Anyone who attended a public high school in America can probably remember the cliques of their day and what was required for membership. Band geeks, nerds, jocks, whatever your crew was, even if it was just you and two others, there was always a code of sorts. Maybe it was dressing a certain way, talking, having the same hobbies or extracurriculars, but belonging meant conforming.
We still have our tribes and clubs as adults, but we also have cultural and societal norms influencing how we live. There’s a great deal of social pressure to conform to what the majority of people around us think is the “correct” way to live. In our age, we have to add to that the pressure from media, everything from Facebook, to movies and television, YouTube, and TikTok. We’re continually being told how to behave, what to consume, what to think.
God calls his children out of the world and all its influences. Instead of being focused on ourselves, He calls us to focus on Jesus and to live our lives as witnesses to his Grace and Mercy. And it’s not easy. Living according to God’s will makes no sense to a world that glorifies the self-indulgent. The temptation to give just a bit here and there, going along with the world, is pretty strong. In the United States and other wealthy nations, we’re insulated from sacrifice by the comforts of our daily lives. We indulge ourselves. We dull our spiritual senses with platitudes and watered-down works. We don’t give of ourselves; we write a check to someone already doing the work while our lives are unchanged, unbothered by God’s great commission.
I’ve noted in these troubled times that some of that comfort has been stripped away. I’m not as complacent as I was before. Life and death feel far more immediate. It’s like waking up from a comfortable doze to see the house on fire. It feels more urgent to share the Gospel. Far more critical to seek God’s will. Have you felt that too?
It’s time to shake off the drugging influence of the world’s creature comforts as well as its influence and remember whose we are. We need to allow the Spirit to renew our minds and change our perspectives, and then dedicate our lives to living our faith.
Christa MacDonald is a 2017 ACFW Carol Award finalist for contemporary Christian fiction.
A native New Englander, she was inspired by her travels through the north woods of Maine to write The Broken Trail, which would become the first in the Sweet River Redemption series published by Mountain Brook Ink.
Christa's writing focuses on the real-life challenges of the modern world, love’s sometimes crooked path, and the redemptive power of Grace.
When not working or writing Christa can be found ferrying her kids around, reading, or attempting something crafty.
She and her husband live with their three kids, two cats, and one dog along the coast of New England. Connect with Christa at www.christamacdonald.com.