In the past couple of weeks, one thing has stood out to me as I’ve watched football championships and the myriad of commercials that go with them.  We are a nation of conformers.

I realized it rumbles haltingly along in Middle School and then zooms into full throttle in high school.

Do you remember those days in your life?  How “all” the girls had such-and-such.  “All” the kids went to “so-and-so.”  You shopped at the same stores, went to the same movies, ate at the same places and even wanted to attend the same colleges.  And of course, there were the clothes!   If you didn’t have the right “logo or label” on, you’d just die!!!

And if you were one of the girls who couldn’t afford to go to the movies, or eat out, or buy those clothes…well, your life was lonely and miserable.  RIght?  In fact, your memories at this very moment may be making your heart sad just from the thought of it.

Anytown High School

All of that is said to remind us of being “conformed” to a group of people who ultimately don’t matter.  Very few of us are still running in the circles of our high school friends.  Life doesn’t work that way as we go to different colleges, seek out totally different careers and move to different parts of the country, or world.

Our lives got changed because of the circumstances that come with growing up.  It’s almost impossible to explain that to a teen, though, because they are convinced all that matters in life is how they appear to their friends (even non-friends).  When you tell your child that in four short years they’ll be going different directions and probably never see one another again, they refuse to believe or even engage the idea.  Part of that thought process is scientifically shown to be the changes going on in their brains…they are physically incapable of certain thought patterns.  If you’re wondering why your teen doesn’t get it, or seems not to listen, there’s a reason.  Repetition helps, but with no guarantee they’ll remember.

The point I really want to make though is the power “conformity” has on all of us.  Teens may personify this most clearly, but think for a moment how the advertising world is literally built around it!  Do you believe that corporations would spend their millions on one commercial during the Super Bowl if they didn’t know it would make a difference in what is purchased?

Look at the football players on the field.  How many of them have their arms covered with tattoos?  I’m not against tattoos, just saying that a few years back one or two tattoos were the thing…now it’s whole body art.  On the majority of players.  What was once “individuality” has now become old-hat conformity.

We are being “conformed” to the world’s thought process, too.  When WOW studied the life of Daniel who was led as a teen into captivity in Babylon and told to eat what the King ate and celebrate the way that country did, we learned he refused.  Others plotted against him because he stood out like a sore thumb, so-to-speak, and I think they were quite jealous of him…to the point where he encountered lions face-to-face.  He would not bow to those idols of that culture.

We’re still pressured to think about fashion, travel destinations, food trends, entertainment and so on.  My question to you is where are you being conformed to this world?  Only you can answer.  No one knows your heart but you.  The thing is, God’s Word exhorts us not to be conformed to this world, but be “transformed” by renewing our minds.  Well, our minds can only have the kind of renewal God is talking about if they are focused on Him and what He teaches us in His Word.

Maybe we can help others, including our kids, transform their thoughts into those concerned with walking the narrow road that leads to life.  The wide road is definitely more comfortable and more fun, but life is short and eternity is forever.  Is the road we see in front of us the one guided by heaven’s GPS  — God’s Perfect Son?

by Cindy Best

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