The struggle with being a Christian in a secular world is very evident wherever you live. Some denominations and religious groups have totally removed themselves from society and essentially walled out the world from their community while other have gone to the other extreme and incorporate worldly music and practices into their worship and culture. On the one hand, we are supposed to spread the Gospel and we can’t do that hiding in between our walls with the occasional visitor or by keeping adherents to some cult-like practices where the pastor and leaders guide and direct your every move. On the other hand, we can’t just replace words and symbols with a “Christian” version and expect people to be transformed.
Scripture tells us that we should not conform to the pattern or likeness of this world but instead be transformed by renewing our minds. (Romans 12:2) So merely Christianizing something is not transformative. You can’t switch a label and expect it to bring new life. For instance, go to the grocery store and switch the label of a bottle of soda with a label of a bottle of spring water. Wait and see what happens. Absolutely nothing, except maybe the price changes when you buy it and get in trouble for stealing or vandalizing *grin*. But nothing changes in the chemical composition of the soda at all by changing a label.
It is the same with us and Christianity. We have a worldly label on our lives, and on the things we listen to, the way we speak and how we live our lives. True transformation means that we stop looking the same as we did previously, we are not the same, our music just isn’t a love song with the name changed to Jesus. We don’t just put a cross on our neck or a t-shirt on our back with a passage of Scripture and expect our behavior or attitude to change on its own. Absolutely not.
Transformation only comes through renewal. You must be born again. All things are made new. Scripture even tells us that when we come to Christ we are a totally new creation, we are renewed, transformed, and have changed completely. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
We truly need a wall of separation in a sense, people should be able to look at you and see how different you are from the world. How else can you be effective in spreading the “good news” if you still act like you are stuck in the old ways of this world? If you have the same behavior, the same lifestyle, use the same foul language, how do you expect people to think they will be any better off with your brand of Christianity or your new found “relationship”?
The Church is not just a body with new clothes or a building with a fresh coat of paint! The Church is to be totally new, washed clean by the power of God, and placed on a new foundation. Avoid the pressure to merely Christianize your life. Christianity is not a fad diet or an on and off again temporary relationship.
Ask God to help you out of simply cleaning yourself on the outside, as Him to transform you from the inside out.
Rom 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!