Conforming or Transforming?
Posted on December 10, 2013
The pattern of the world is easy to miss and easier to accidentally embrace! Often we believe the pattern of the world is always recognizable. However, I’m realizing the more our minds are renewed in Christ, the clearer the pattern of the world is spotted and the more I observe it is actually consistently embraced. Many attempts at “transforming” society still consist of paradigms that conform people to an external standard and focus little to nothing on internal awakening and transformation. Transformation means a whole new substance and being, not merely a new pattern of behaviors and practices.
Recently I heard Graham Cooke say that we too often have become comfortable with the way the world works that we think the Kingdom is somewhat parallel to the world. He went on to ask the question, “What if the world has absolutely nothing to teach us about the ways of God?” Immediately I sensed a response in my heart resonating with that statement as I have pondered this thought. Here are a few questions to think through and contemplate. Is transformation an outgrowth of self-discipline OR is self-discipline an outgrowth of transformation? Is ‘hard work’ our ruling value for moving things forward OR is hearing the peaceful voice of God say, “This is the way, walk in it,” that produces the diligent work which blossoms into something abundant?
In my own journey, as well as my discussions with others, I find we know the right thing to say, but the way we live mirrors the world rather than releases the Kingdom. We espouse trusting God, but practically we trust our selves. What if the Kingdom is less about new recruits who become faithful employees and more about developing sons and daughters and release them to what God has called them to do, even if that means personal loss to what I’m doing? When God’s people struggle and strain to repackage what’s already become stale, grace empowers us to ask a new question.
Most of our innovation is copying what innovators in the world are already doing. What if Kingdom people were made to be the innovators that the world takes notice of and begins to mimic? It’s interesting to me that we often try to make things predictable because we want people to know what they are getting into. Do you ever notice that Jesus didn’t seem to carry that perspective? He was incredibly consistent in demonstrating the nature of God, and incredibly inconsistent in how He demonstrated that nature. He seemed to keep people guessing and wasn’t bothered with their journey and process. Yet, if growth in numbers is our primary value, we will make things predictable because predictability sells well but doesn’t necessarily transform well.
When we always know what to expect, we are dulled to divine spontaneity. Not knowing what to expect, may feel scary and uncomfortable but one thing it’s not is boring! Creation screams diversity, uniqueness, life, and creativity. There is consistency and there is diverse creativity. In no way am I against excellence and quality. However, I see these characteristics as a joyful part of the DNA of heaven, not an endless demand of “never good enough.” It’s time to see and smell the difference. The transforming power of the Kingdom and the pattern of the world are not compatible. Let’s keep going and growing together!