In Romans 12:2, God tells us not to be conformed to the world, that is, to the world system. The message is for us, His children. These are those, who have surrendered their lives to the Lord Jesus and have accepted Him as their Lord and personal Saviour. We were born as sinners, but one day, we heard God’s Word, and were convicted of our sins, and we pleaded with Him for forgiveness, promising not to go back to our vomit. As we read and study God’s Word daily, we started to grow in Him. To avoid going back to our old life, God’s warns that we should not conform to the world again.
We are to close our eyes from the evil things the world offers. Our unbelieving friends and relations may be making the most out of such things. We are not to follow them, because it will profit us nothing to gain the whole world and at the end of life, we lose our soul – Matt. 16:26. Material possession may attract respect and honour, but it has no eternal perspective, and it cannot therefore be compared with eternal life which God has promised us, His children.
From John 15:18, we discover that it is normal for the people of the world to hate God’s children. Their hatred arises from the fact that we refuse to compromise our faith. A man may compel his children to be worshipping his idol, and those of them, who are God’s children, will object. Their refusal to worship his god may cause him to hate them. His compromising children may hate them also. The believers in that family may be denied participation in sharing the family property. It will not make a true child of God to sail in the same boat with his unbelieving-family members. In my own case, my elder sister wept, when I refused to give her money to pay the debt she owed a native doctor. I did not bother!
The strength of a child of God, according to Gal. 6:14, is that he is crucified to the world. This is why he can sing, “The things I used to do, I do them no more… there is a great change since I am born-again”. It is possible for a child of God to compromise his faith, in spite of God’s warning, for us not to conform to the world. It is concern and not criticism that should make us to endevour in bringing him back to God. Kwegyir Aggrey of Ghana wrote how a Missionary visited a farmer and pointed at an eagle among the man’s chicken. The farmer agreed with him, and told him how he caught the eagle in the bush and had raised it with his chicken, and that it was no longer an eagle. The guest did not buy that. They decided for a contest on the issue.
For three days, the guest would lift up the eagle and would remind it that it was an eagle and not a chicken, that it should fly to the sky. As soon as it saw other birds feeding, it would jump down and joined them. It made the farmer to maintain that as the eagle had adjusted to be like other birds, nothing would make it to be an eagle again. The guest insisted that as long as it had the heart of an eagle, that it would remain to be one. He took the eagle to a different location and lifted it up. The eagle saw then the sun and flew away, confirming that faith comes by hearing God’s Word repeatedly. The child of God, no matter his situation, should, like that eagle, lift up his eyes to God, and fly away from his life of compromise.
The confidence of a child of God lies on the fact that the world and all the things it offers, will pass away one day – 1John 2:17. The world can use position, wealth, or in fact, anything, to entice him, but they will all pass away. The world can offer him easy life, which brings him joy. This joy the world gives is transitory. It can be contrasted easily from the eternal joy God gives. In 1Cor. 2:9, Paul wrote that eyes have not seen nor ears heard, what God is preparing for us, His children. He has, however, revealed them to us.
There is the world system and there its also the Christian way of doing things. In 1Samuel 24 and 26, King Saul was searching for David with his soldiers to kill him. Incidentally, in those two occasions, David had the opportunity to kill him but he did not. Killing King Saul would have hastened David to the throne. Secondly, it would have prevented Saul from harassing him. That is the world’s system of doing things. This explains why God tells us not to conform to the world. By the same token, Jonathan, King Saul’s heir apparent, would have killed David, for him to be sure that he would succeed his dad, especially that night they met before David escaped to the land of the Philistines. Like David, his bosom friend, Jonathan refused to follow the world’s system.
God, knowing what man can do, was specific, when He wanted Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his son. He mentioned his name, leaving no choice for Abraham. It was a tough demand, realizing that Abraham had waited for twenty five years on God from the time He made the promise to him. Many people might have gone with Isaac for the sacrifice, but would ‘forget’ at home, the knife he would have used in killing him. This is another world system. The man could, even be seen weeping and blaming himself for ‘forgetting’ the knife, but not Abraham, the father of faith. He was in the verge of sacrificing Isaac, the son of promise, when God, not human wisdom, stopped him. This is why God warns His children not to be conformed to this world and its system.
May I remind us once again, that this is not a message for everybody. It is for God’s children. We live in the world but we are not of the world. During the Nigerian Civil War, I lived at Nkpa as a refugee. One day, I went to the bush with my friends to cut some wood with which I built an eatery, my Midland Hotel. The type of structure I built spoke loud that I was a stranger there. Midland or no Midland, one day, I left the place for my town, utilizing the opportunity that came up.
Each time I travel to the US, I do not forget that I am a visitor in that great country, and that sooner or later, I will go back to Nigeria. I have observed that most people in the US are hardworking, and relatively honest, but much concerned only in the things that give them maximum satisfaction. I refuse to copy this trait, since I am not one of them.
It was the war that compelled me to live at Nkpa, yet I was conscious that I was a stranger there. Going to the US at any time, has been by my personal choice and pleasure, but whether the US is better than Nigeria or not, I have been conscious, all the time, that I am a Nigerian. This is how God expects us, His children, to live in this world.
For further comment, Please contact: Osondu Anyalechi: 09090419057; [email protected]