do not be conformed to this world

Do not be Conformed to this World: 5 Strongholds We Need to let go of

I will be honest, I grew up in the church and was taught strong rules of right and wrong. It was black and white, no in between and I often measured my walk with God by how well I was staying away from sin. It wasn’t until more recently that I realized what Paul meant when he penned “do not be conformed to this world” has much more to do with the motives of my heart than an actual physical sin.

With that it mind, I would like to explore 5 strongholds we put before God and why they prevent us from “transforming our minds”.

Let’s begin with Paul’s verse itself.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)

What Does it Mean to Not Conform?

By definition conform means:

1. Comply with rules, standards, or laws.

2.Be similar in form or type, agree.

I think the second definition fits what Paul is trying to say the best. We are not to be similar to the world or agree with it in any way.

In some ways this is not difficult. Do not steal, do not kill, be honest in your business dealings, treat others kindly.

Most of the world does this as well.

Do Not be Conformed to this World Meaning

What then does Paul mean when he instructs us to not be conformed to this world? He is talking about the motives of our heart. Jesus made this transition clear to the Jews when he was on earth. His teachings brought them from obedience to the law as an outward observance to true motives of the heart.

Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. (Matthew 6:1)

You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28)

For more examples like this see “Building on the Rock: 10 Lessons Jesus is Teaching Us”

For those of us who have nailed the outward obedience and are not conforming to the world in that department, let’s take a closer look at our motives.

Satan uses many tactics to weaken our connection with God and encourage us to conform to his world. Here are five big strongholds I want to discuss.

  • Idols
  • Fear
  • Pride
  • Materialism
  • Doubt

Which one do you struggle with? Let’s go over each one briefly. This is the first of a series in which we will cover each of these in more detail in individual posts.

Recognizing my strongholds, repenting, and giving them to God is weighing heavy on my heart.

do not be conformed to this world

Letting Go of Idols

As Christians, we think of idols as golden statues people offer sacrifices to. God is very clear right from the beginning that this is not acceptable.

You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 

you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, (Genesis 30:3-5)

Those would be easy to stay away from once you have the knowledge of Jesus and give your life over to him. So why am I talking about idols?

Let’s look at the definition of idol.

1. An image or representation of a god used as an object of worship.

2. A person or thing that is greatly admired, loved, or revered.

With this in mind, an idol can be anything we love more than God. It can be a person, animal, dream or ambition etc.

Now, we are most likely not going to outwardly admit that we love something more than God, because well, that would be wrong, but I challenge you to take a good look at your heart.

Is there someone that you go to before you go to God in prayer? Is there a goal you have in which you put all conviction aside to achieve?

Are you listening to God’s voice alone or is there another?

Be sure to check out my new freebies page! Free Bible studies, coloring pages, wallpaper, and inspirational printables to help you focus on God’s word.

What Does the Bible Say about Idols?

What does the Bible say about idols and how can I apply this to my life as a follower of Christ today?

Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)

Sin is an idol? It sure is!

Cursed is the one who makes a carved or molded image, an abomination to the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ (Deuteronomy 27:15)

They bear it on the shoulder, they carry it
And set it in its place, and it stands;
From its place it shall not move.
Though one cries out to it, yet it cannot answer
Nor save him out of his trouble. (Isaiah 46:7)

For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.  (Ephesians 5:5)

Do Not be Conformed to this World: Letting Go of Pride

Another way that we conform to this world is by allowing our actions to be based in pride. This is a tricky one to recognize because pride is not always huaghty and arrogant. Pride is in our daily lives and should be identified and removed.

And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 

After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”

Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”

8Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”

Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” (John 13:2-8)

Jesus sets a beautiful example of humbling ourselves one to another. This attitude of humility eliminates all strife, jealousy, unforgiveness, selfishness, and ego.

What Does Pride Look Like In Our Lives?

Pride takes on various forms. My mom always says “I is in the middle of pride”. If I am struggling with unforgiveness or battling coveting because “I” deserve better, than I know pride is rearing its ugly head.

When I feel insecure, or take the reigns and micromanage, pride is again at work.

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)

What Does the Bible Say about Pride?

God provides dozens of examples of prideful people throughout scripture to show us how detrimental this attitude can be. It begins with satan, a beautiful angel, serving at the throne of the Most High. Somewhere in that pure soul was a spark of pride. He wanted to be as God and therein began the battle between good and evil.

In the Garden of Eden, Satan appeals to the pride of Eve when presenting her with the forbidden fruit.

Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)

Can you imagine, the opporunity to be like God? Unfortunately, we all understand good and evil now.

A man’s pride will bring him low,
But the humble in spirit will retain honor. (Proverbs 29:23)

Hope Joy in Christ has an excellent post on pride in marriage!

Do Not be Conformed to this World: Letting Go of Fear

This one is hard for me to address because it is my constant struggle. I think it needs to be said.

Allowing yourself to dwell in fear is a way of conforming to this world.

You are putting your fear before God, ignoring all of the promises throughout His word assuring you of His presence and help.

Raise your hand if you are ready to let go and let God!

What Does the Bible Say about Fear?

I have an entire post dedicated to this topic coming soon but let’s discuss what the Bible says about fear to get us started.

Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ (Isaiah 41:10)

There is no gaurantee that life will go smoothly for us, but we are promised strength and help.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

We are also promised “peace which surpasses all understanding”. That is quite the peace. We must reach out and accept this peace and not try to force situations to work in our favor.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

Joshua 1:9 is one of my favorite verses. God is with us. We have courage because of Him. We can be srong because of Him. Isn’t God good to give us such encouragement?

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

If this is something you struggle with, be sure to check out these posts:

Your Faith has Made You Whole: Touching the Hem of His Garment

How God’s Light Overcomes Fear and Doubt

do not be conformed to this world

Do Not be Conformed to this World: Letting Go of a Materialistic World

We often accuse those who have a lot of nice items to be materialistic, which most definitely is a trap and a way of conforming to this world, but let’s look at it from another angle.

Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. 

Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?  If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? 

Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?

“And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. (Luke 12:22-31)

What if we are not content with simply having food and ramaint? What if we are jealous of those who have more? Or what about the times when we worry that we cannot pay our bills? Doesn’t God promise to provide?

What Does the Bible Say about Materialism?

What does the Bible say about materialism? How does this fall into the category of “do not be conformed to this world”? Fortunately, we have a lot of scripture to draw on.

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

The first step would be content with such things as you have! I have great gratitude journals for both women and kids which can really help with this! Check them out in my shop!

He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver;
Nor he who loves abundance, with increase.
This also is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 5:10)

This verse is about coveting which is a very real form of materialism that often sneaks up on us unaware.

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. (1 Timothy 6:6-8)

Do Not be Conformed to this World: Letting Go of Doubt

Ugh! Doubt is one of those things that sneaks in and takes root before we know what has happened.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 

For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:5-8)

This is not a comforting verse! I don’t know about you, but I do NOT want to be that man tossed by the wind.

When we are struggling to believe God’s word, His promises, or His will for our lives we are conforming to this world and giving satan a back door to destroy our relationship with God.

What Does the Bible Say about Doubt?

One of my favorite stories is of Peter. While it is about him walking on water, I feel as if it something that plays out in each of our lives in various forms.

Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.

 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”

So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”

And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. (Matthew 14:25-32)

We believe God, feel inspired and anointed, and then we allow the world and it’s troubles to distract us and before we know we are sinking.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. (Hebrews 11:1-2)

Few things are harder to believe in that those we cannot see. “Do not be conformed to this world” most definitely includes those of us who look more at the waves than the one who promised to always be with us.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Do Not Be Conformed to This World…

I hope that this post has pricked your hearts. In what ways do you find yourself conforming to this world? What are some other traps I could include?

Over the next couple of months we will be going into each of these vices individually. Let’s pray this verse over our hearts and ask for illumination.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)

Be sure to check out these other posts!

How to Know God’s Will When You are in a Period of Waiting

Do You Have the Courage to Let Go of the Sunset?

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lessons from home
Hello! I'm Heather and this is Baby Joel, the youngest of five. At Lessons from Home you will find encouragement for your parenting and homeschooling journey. Healing from loss is also a major part of this blog as my family struggles through grief and brokenness at the loss of my beautiful 8 year old daughter.
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