by Lyn Packer
We live in an age where we strive for individuality yet look so much to our peers for approval that we instead end up conforming. We constantly look for validation, yet we look for it from broken people instead of the one person to whom we should look.
Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original. Gal 5:25-26 Message Bible
God is calling a generation of fearless obedient warriors to rise up and step out in obedience to Him. He is calling us to leave behind our insecurities and desire to blend in with the crowd and to stand out as ones who carry the presence and power of God in our lives and release it into every situation we come into. So what stops us doing this? One of the biggest things that stops us is the culture of conformity that surrounds us.
We live in an age where we strive for individuality yet look so much to our peers for approval that instead of experiencing individuality we live in a culture of conformity. We search for significance, for status – from our families, from our peers, from our jobs. We think we have significance because of what we do, because of our job, but what we don't realise is that it isn't the job that gives us significance – our job is significant because we are. It is us that bring our significance to the job. We constantly look for validation, yet we look for it from broken people instead of the one person to whom we should look – God. We buy the right car, the right house, and the cool clothes. We go to the new restaurant / nightclub to be seen in the right places. Our life is influenced by peer pressure and advertising.
The enemy isn't so much interested in our gift as he is in our identity and our faith. If he can sideline us through our desire to be accepted then we will disqualify ourselves from the life of faith and our real identity will be stolen from us, leaving us always searching for significance. It's in knowing our identity and significance that our sense of purpose and destiny will be released. Purpose releases passion, and purpose and passion release faith, thus releasing the resources needed to fulfil the promise and receive the reward. Faith releases the anointing and the anointing breaks the yoke.
The culture of conformity causes us to be inward focused and our life is lived with our eyes on ourselves instead of on God. (It has been said that "One of the smallest of packages is a person wrapped up in themself.") The culture of conformity lets others make the decisions for us and a person living through the decisions of his friends isn't really living.
Let's take a brief look at the life of Saul
1 Sam 9:20-25 King Saul was a classic. Samuel anoints him king then on the day he is to announce it, Saul can't be found – he is hiding amongst the baggage. He cannot see himself as God sees him. In his eyes he is a nobody and has no significance. His lack of self worth and identity were so bad they would eventually cause his downfall as king.
1 Sam 15:1- Saul and the Amalekites – v24 Saul listened to the people and was afraid of them. This fear caused him to offer a sacrifice when he shouldn't have and in the end it caused him to lose his kingship. Then he got caught out - v30 He had sinned but he wanted Samuel to cover for him in front of the people. The people's opinion of him was more important to him than God's. He had learnt nothing. His identity and significance were still found in how others saw him not in how God saw him.
There's nothing essentially wrong with dressing like your mates or doing the things they enjoy but when your friends decide how you live then you have a problem. God calls us to conform to one thing only – the image of Jesus and his righteousness. He says in Galatians – "It is for freedom that I set you free. Do not be conformed to a yoke of slavery."
If we bow to the culture of conformity we cannot walk in the culture of the Kingdom of Heaven and faith.
- Conformity says "Be the same as everyone else."
Faith says "Be who you were created to be."
- Conformity says "Don't rock the boat."
Faith says "Step out of the boat altogether."
- Conformity says "Play it safe, stay with the crowd."
Faith says "Live the adventure."
- Conformity says "Don't believe things can be different."
Faith says "I'll make the difference."
- Conformity says "Listen to intimidation and fear. Let the crowd sway you."
Faith says "I refuse to bow to intimidation and fear. I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me."
- Conformity says "Exist, but don't really live."
Faith says "Live life with passion."
- Conformity says "Be powerless – like us."
Faith says "I am filled with the Spirit of God. The power in Christ is within me and the weight and authority of the throne of heaven back me up."
Wrong conformity ultimately brings us into a yoke of bondage. Any time we are in a place of bondage our effectiveness is diluted or negated altogether. Get set free. God calls us to be fulfilled in our uniqueness. He calls us to live a life of faith instead of a life of conformity; to be the change, to make the difference, to live life with passion for a cause greater than ourselves. What is that cause – Love for the King of Kings and the release of the Kingdom of God into the earth!
What will you choose today, the culture of conformity or the culture of faith? Choose faith and step out of the boat. Be the much loved child of God you are, and in knowing that place of identity and significance then step out and be the worshipping warrior you are called to be – releasing Heaven into earth. Go for it!