Unlimited: The Pattern of This World
Jul 3, 2023 252
Do not conform to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2a).
Paul has just told us that true worship is the worship of our whole lives. Now he tells us what the opposite of worshipping God looks like: “anti-worship.” This is the worship of the world; when we conform our lives to how the world tells us we should live. We should not allow this to happen to us.
The word translated “conform” here is a manufacturing term. It has to do with how a craftsman pours material into a mould, to create the desired shape. That’s why Phillips’ paraphrase renders this as,
Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould…
In contrast “to the pattern of this world” is the “pattern of teaching” that you have received, which refers to the Gospel.
The world is constantly applying pressure to squeeze you into its mould: to look, think, and act in a certain way. Its message is that if you do this, you will be accepted and successful, but if you don’t, then you will be rejected. The pressure is constant, from mainstream media, social media, entertainment, and all the sources of information and opinions which constantly bombard us.
In contrast “to the pattern of this world” is the “pattern of teaching” that you have received, which refers to the Gospel. The principles of the Gospel are entirely antithetical to the principles of this world. It is into this pattern of the Gospel that our lives are to be transformed.
As you were growing up as a little child and into your teenage years and young adulthood, what pressures did you face to conform to the pattern of this world? What pressures do you face today? How can you help others struggling with the same pressures?