On a daily basis I read or watch news stories about the radical group ISIS. I have a particular interest in its relentless and growing resolve to attack Christians from around the world because they do not conform to a certain way of thinking. Of a similar nature, I see stories from here in the United States where Christians are attacked, sometimes by the government, for holding to their religious convictions. These convictions were once firmly protected as the right to free exercise of religion based in the first amendment to the constitution. The indictment is for refusal to conform to our society’s attempt to redefine marriage and is guised under the label of discrimination. Please note, the people not being served by those trying to stay true to their personal beliefs have other options. They are not truly suffering.
The Christians under extreme persecution in Syria and the florists and bakers being forced out of business for not sanctioning a same sex wedding are similar in that they are refusing to conform. I am certain there are exceptions, but generally these non-conformists are not inflicting bodily or financial harm on anyone. Only an extremist would dare call them evil.
If the Apostle Paul were alive today, he would be cheering on the grandmother in Washington State who would rather lose her store than conform to the pressure of the State for not making floral arrangements for a same-sex wedding.
In the glory days of Rome, a disturbing sect called Christians came on the scene. They had not heard the rule, ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do.’ Rather, they refused to be absorbed into the godless society of Rome. The Romans figured they could control one’s conscience by law, so laws against being different were made. Non-conformists were threatened with death and many chose death rather than compromise their consciences.
Paul, a Roman Christian, took up a pen and wrote an encouragement to Christians for all ages. “Be not 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.”
Times have changed, but the human heart hasn’t. Pressures continue to bear upon Christians to conform their thinking to unhealthy and ungodly ways. Expect it to continue, but don’t give in. Rather renew your thinking through God’s word, and you will discover His perfect will.