Occasionally I will accidentally catch a preacher on Instagram or TikTok talking about avoiding following the patterns of the “world.” I know from experience, as a former pastor, that I could use this teaching to plug in about anything I wanted to rail against.
What preachers usually fail to understand is that most religions are modeled after the pattern of the world. Most Christian rituals come from pagan rituals and once they are larger than 50 people or so, most churches run like any other corporation. The organization always comes first and individuals are considered last, no matter what they say.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2a, NIV
Religion is all about conforming. It has creeds and belief statements and ceremonies, all designed to increase agreement to a man-made system (pattern of the world). Differing belief systems have differing levels of control and need for total agreement.
Reciting creeds, Bible verses, singing songs in unison, and even chanting can be a means of confirming to a man-made system (pattern of this world).
What needs to be different?
Jesus was prone to use the term “repent” which means “change your thinking” or as this passage says, “renew your mind” which transforms you. Failure to renew your mind or change your thinking ( even if you think you are right) leads you towards Gehenna ( the trash dump / death / decay ) instead of transformation.
The pattern of the world protects its doctrines and method and rituals. Renewing our mind, and being open, leads us toward transformation. Defending never promotes growth. We may continue to “confirm” and approve and feel better temporarily–but it’s not transformation.
Be where you are,
Be who you are,
Be at peace.