Between You and Me

To Conform To This World Dick G. Vanderpyl

The Dutch call this phrase above: “Wereldgelijkvormigheid”. A real tongue twister if ever there was one! Try to say it!

Way back in the previous century, a faithful office-bearer and good friend of mine had a weakness for car racing, and in particular, for the Demolition Derby. It was an annual event in Onehunga, Auckland on the Speedway. Leaflets warned that: “Speedway racing is dangerous and all persons attending these meetings do so entirely at their own risk. It is a condition of admission to drivers and spectators that the organizers are absolved from all liability” etc., etc.

Now, this good elder - with his boys - always chose the most dangerous bend. They disappeared in clouds of dust as the racing cars roared by doing their utmost to demolish the opposition. The more dangerous the better!

This good elder admitted to me once that he had difficulty to “hearing” the preacher the next morning, and was unable to concentrate on the sermon. His wife allowed him then to fade away, waking him only when his snoring turned into a crescendo, copying his favourite choice of the night before, I think!

Now, I am not claiming that I am holier or more pietistic than my good and faithful brother in Christ for the simple reason that this event did not have my interest. Give me soccer anytime, except on the Lord's Days, of course!

Now, early this year, I got nicely and knowingly “sucked in” to join a group to attend a “Demolition Derby” on a Saturday evening, a choice evening instead of preparing for worship the next day. I remember, in my youth, we were not allowed to have roaring parties on the Saturday evening. Our grandmother, for instance, often hit the street by 10 p.m. to round up her brood - and they were well over their teens - to ensure they were not too jolly, and had a decent rest to prevent being sleepy worshippers.

To come back to my escapade, it was a `first' for me, and I had no idea what was coming! Did I get excited? Of course I did. Very few would be immune to this. After all, it was far more exciting than watching on TV. We all like a bit of danger behind the fence!

In my youth I belonged to a “Young Men's Society” in our local church in Holland, meeting once a week, studying a particular biblical and/or topical subject. One Sunday afternoon - that's when we met on a weekly basis - one of the members, whose turn it was, introduced the topic “Wereldgelijkvormigheid”. A mouthful! A long and loaded word! I admit that I was not the only who scratched his head and tried to “taste” such a long word; hardly anyone had a clue what it meant! The introducer explained that it meant: “To conform to this world of ours”. To conform is to “agree with and try to be like someone and do what others say to do”.

The trouble, of course, is that it is Biblical to not conform to this world, and hence a bit of an anathema. God's Word, the Bible, has this to say on this issue. Let me just quote some verses from the Scriptures; these are infallibly the truth, and not negotiable:

Romans 8:29 -“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.”

Ezekiel 11:12 - “ …… but have conformed to the standards of the nations around you.”

1 Peter 1:14 - “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.” The next verse states: “Be holy in all you do”.

Romans 12:2 - “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”.

Well, with the Scriptural evidence to “conform” to the Lord and not to the world, we can't argue with what is clearly spelled out in God's Word, can we? Sorry, fellers and sheilahs!

And thus, by the grace of our Heavenly Father, we have been predestined to conform to the likeness of His Son, and not to our adversary, the Devil.

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Faith in Focus / NZ Reformed Church / thirty@paradise.net.nz / Copyright 2001