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August Blog: “But It’s My Right!”
By Darlene Winans
Conformity. It seems like a dirty word, especially to Americans. Americans are independent, rebellious, rights-driven people. Rebellion is in our DNA – we rebelled against Britain and won! Darn right, we did. And if there is something we don’t like, we protest and petition until they change it!
And what about our rights? We have the Bill of Rights, included in the Constitution, modeled by many other nations when they formed their own independent governments. The Bill of Rights eventually extended to include women’s rights, the rights of slaves to be free, and other civil rights – everyone has their rights, right?
Now, don’t get me wrong – I believe that, acting in love, we should treat each other humanely and with dignity and respect. But getting back to that first word – conformity. You say that word, and Americans shutter. I’d venture to say that humans, globally, do not like that word. But we are Christians first, and Americans or French or Kenyan or (fill in the blank with your own nationality) second. What does the Bible say of conformity? “For those God foreknew, He predestined to be conformed into the image of His Son (Romans 8:29).”
God foreknew you, meaning He knew you before you became a person. Psalms 139:13 says, “For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Later in the chapter it says, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” Which brings us to another word in Romans 8:29 that we don’t like: predestined. Thinking about the word predestined might give us a sense of powerlessness. Like we had no choice in the matter. It’s already set. However, we do have a choice in the matter. God knows our days and the outcome, the choices we will make and the fruit we’ll bear or the consequences of our choices. But we have our will – to willingly dive to the depths of depravity, or to willingly yield to God and His will. We are not powerless, we are empowered to live free in His love!
If you wonder what God is up to in these days of rights, protest, and civil unrest, He is up to conformity – conforming us into the image of Christ. Romans 12:1 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” If we are not to conform to this world, then to whom or what do we conform to? The image of Christ. We want our rights, our own will. He wants us to yield and look like Christ. To be the hands and feet of Jesus. To be love.