Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Fitting In


Clarity Against Conformity
A devotional by Christa MacDonald

“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 12:2 (NIV)

As humans, we are social creatures.

Belonging—whether to a romantic partner, a family, or a group—is essential to us. 

What’s the number one concern of kids heading into a new school? Friends. They’re not stressed about what classes they’ll take; they’re focused on who they will sit with at lunch. For many kids, it’s not just a new school either. Every day can see a shifting social scene with new alliances and fractured friendships. The drama in middle school is rough, folks. Children are thrown into this high-test social environment right when they are beginning to develop the character they will take with them into adulthood. The pressure to conform so one can fit in can be exhausting. And it doesn’t stop with middle school.

We all face the pressure to fit in—whether it’s within our family, our community, or our country. We’re told if we want to belong, we need to conform. For Christians, that’s a non-starter. As Paul tells us in the verse above, we are called out of the world, transformed by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. This means that we are not going to fit in.

We should look to God for what is good and right, not to the world around us. Does that mean we don’t belong? Well, yes and no. We are not of this world, but we are to live in it, form relationships, love our neighbors and even our enemies. As Christians, we should stand out, not blend in. People should know we belong to God because of how we conduct ourselves. 

In the United States, we are in a time of rancor and discord. There are so many factions forming, teams we’re urged to join, sides we’re supposed to be on. But we don’t belong to any of them; we belong to God. The Church’s only foundation is Jesus Christ, and that one Church spans the globe with members of all ethnicities, all countries.

We need to engage our discernment in times like this to live in a world that is so intent on getting us to conform. Remember the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

If the group you’re being urged to join shows none of this fruit, it’s not a place you can belong. It doesn’t mean you can’t have a relationship with others outside of the faith; on the contrary, we need to be in the world as salt and light. But for loyalties, for allegiances, we have one that transcends all others. We can give time to worldly matters, but our hearts have to stay with Jesus. It’s the only way to live in the world and not be conformed to it.

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, please give our hearts and minds discernment to help us navigate the dangerous waters we find ourselves in. Bind us to You so that our feet may stay on the path that leads to an eternity spent with You in our true home (Heaven). In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

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Author Bio:

Christa MacDonald is a 2017 Carol Award finalist for contemporary Christian fiction.


She began her writing career at the age of eleven, filling a sketchbook with poems and short stories. After publishing a few short pieces in her college’s literary magazine she took a long hiatus during which she embarked on a few different careers, got married, had three kids, and renovated an old barn masquerading as a house.

Her most recent work, The Redemption Road, finished the Sweet River Redemption series published by Mountain Brook Ink.

When not working or writing Christa can be found ferrying her kids around, reading, or attempting something crafty. She and her family live along the coast of New England.

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Connect with Christa:
Website: www.christamacdonald.com
Newsletter: https://christamacdonald.com/connect-with-christa/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1538432676468229/
Amazon: https://amzn.to/33uk329
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CricketMacD
Christa's book publisher: http://mountainbrookink.com/about-us/authors/christa-macdonald/

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