Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Peer Pressure (07/05/04)
TITLE: The Transformation of a Non-Conformist
By Glenn A. Hascall
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I recall photography and aviation classes - theater productions and work schedules - my first car and my first experience driving a bus (oops, please disregard that last experience).
These were the years of my strongest expressions of being a teenage non-conformist. I never seemed to be interested in the same things as my peers. Many things they liked to do I had no problems saying no to. They wore trendy clothes while I wore either overalls or a t-shirt with an unbuttoned and untucked flannel shirt over it with well used blue jeans.
While I was home reading, my peers were enjoying cruising main. While they drank themselves into a stupor, I was serving chicken parts at the local Chicken Hut. I didnít seem to lack friends though. In fact, I had one classmate say that I was part of the largest clique that he had ever seen. It was possible to see me talking with one of the most popular people in my class one minute and one of the Ďunknowní the next.
My peers had no trouble knowing where I stood on things (I was quite willing to share my views) and there came a sometimes grudging respect with that knowledge. There were the occasional verbal barb lofted in my direction from various individuals that didnít seem to like the ease of movement between societyís elite and outcasts.
I didnít see myself as either popular or despised. There was just this general acceptance of who I was and, for whatever reason, this seemed good enough to me. I own no sports pins, I won no royalty - it didnít really matter to me.
You know, come to think of it, I had a pretty significant example.
Jesus didnít do things the way everyone else did them - He didnít party like the publicans, He didnít steal like the tax collectors, He wasnít self-righteous like the Pharisees. Yet there were people in each group that were drawn to Him. They had no question about the fact that He was unique and there was something about that difference that drew humankind to Him.
He never sought popularity, He didnít sway with the opinion of others, He was comfortable with who He was - and it showed. He was real, honest and unperturbed by the verbal barbs lofted in His direction by those who didnít seem to like the ease of movement between the elite and outcasts of the society in which He found Himself. Yet instead of pettiness and hate, He responded in love.
One of the most incredible verses in Scripture is ďDo not conform any longer 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 Godís will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.Ē (Romans 12:2 - NIV)
We are not to live according to the style or manner of the world we live in. When everyone is trying to keep up with a mental ideal of perfection, we may decide there are more important things to be concerned about. While others keep everything they earn, we might give in order to help someone who has a need. While some will resort to putting other people down we might reach out a hand in friendship.
ďA peculiar people.Ē Thatís what weíre called. Not non-conformists for the sake of simply being different, but non-conformists because we are willing to be identified with Christ above any other friendship, social standing or personal gain.
Being a non-conformist may seem like hard work, maybe it doesnít seem natural. When you renew your mind by reading and thinking about Godís Word you will begin to be transformed. Suddenly you will discover that you are out of step with everyone else because you have found a different drummer to march to. It might even amaze you when you see the places youíre marching to.