The Pattern of this World

dare_to_be_different“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Rom. 12:1-2a (NIV)

Chapter         (NIV)

Audio              (2:58)

As I wrote on Monday, we are to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice. It begins with attitude, which translates into action.

It isn’t a one-time decision…it’s an ongoing commitment.

Sacrificial living is difficult because it is not only different than the pattern of the world…it’s essentially the opposite. It’s difficult because we have a natural tendency to want to fit in with everyone else.

We want to be accepted.

But part of sacrificial living is being different…and setting an example.

In order to avoid being conformed to a particular pattern, we must first understand what that pattern is. When Paul writes that we should not be conformed to the pattern of this world, he is referring in part to the pattern of self-centeredness that is characteristic of this world.

The alternative to self-centeredness is other-centeredness.

Jesus was other-centered.

His focus was not on how to improve himself or His standing in the world. His focus was on helping others.

As physicians we are blessed to work in a helping profession…but it is a profession that in large measure is conformed to the world. It is conformed to the world because it is a profession characterized by self-centeredness.

As Christian physicians, we are called to a different way of life. We are called to a life that looks beyond ourselves and our personal needs.

What that life actually looks like will be different for every follower of Jesus because we are each unique and given a separate calling. But it should be a life characterized by other-centeredness and obedience to the leading of God. It should be a life that stands out…a life that puzzles those around us.

It should be a life characterized by deeds of eternal impact…but deeds often known only to us.

The other-centered life is counter-intuitive…it doesn’t make sense.

And that’s what makes it so clearly of God.

It is the only life that brings true joy and shalom.

Prayer: Lord, continue to lead me toward the other-centered life as I continue to deny myself, take up my cross and follow You.

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