Monday, November 28, 2011

Charlie Chaplin and Conformity.

I just had a conversation with someone last night who knew me from long before. He recalled that I was kind of an oddball when I was younger. He remembered this because I used to wear a Charlie Chaplin bowler hat and walk around with a cane and pocket watch.

Don't hate. I used to love Charlie Chaplin.

Anyways, most people would think that I was different because of the way I dressed. And outwardly, yes - I was. But, in reality, this was just my way of trying to get people's attention and admiration. I figured if I could be different enough, then people will notice me. And that was important to me.

So, when looking at the Biblical mandate to "not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind," I was ultimately failing. (Romans 12:2) Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for self-expression, but isn't Jesus Christ the person who we really want to express through ourselves?

But I digress - that's a topic for another day. What I really want to get at is this: we try so hard, especially in this homogeneous, American culture, to fit in to what the world deems as "acceptable."

So we don't dare talk about Jesus to our friends or people we meet because we don't want to be perceived as crazy. We also won't think about refusing to go to a movie with friends because we don't want to be viewed as a goody-goody snob. We'll laugh along with the crowd when the group jokester tells the most raunchy, filthy "joke" he knows.

And not only do we refuse to set ourselves apart from the world, we actively try to be like the world!

Don't believe me? Well, why do you dress the way you do? Why do you use the local slang that you use? Why do you make every effort to make sure that there's nothing to make you look different from your peers?

But it all goes back to the heart, right?

So, if this is true, then the guy (like me) who is outwardly different from everyone, in an attempt to gain approval, is just as messed up as the guy who goes to great lengths to be the same as everyone else, just to be accepted.

Our conformity, in other words, has nothing to do with who we are outwardly, but what ideas we're agreeing to internally. And the idea is this: I need other people's approval in order to be satisfied.

I find it helpful to always remind the few people who read these writings (Hi, Mom!) that I usually write what I do because it is personally convicting for my life. I still have problems finding my complete satisfaction in Christ. Major ones.

But let's look at what it means to be satisfied with having only God. Once this happens, we will be free to do what the Lord asks of us and not give a flying flip about what other people think. We'll be that weird guy always talking about his Jesus to everyone he meets. We will be mocked. We will be hated.

But we won't care. Because Christ is enough.

We'll be able to nod our heads right along with Paul when he says, "I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content." (Philippians 4:11)


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