September 29, 2012
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
When your mother or father asked, "And if everybody jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?" did you answer that question in the affirmative?
Truly it's hard to swim against the current of popular opinion.
For example, nowadays we say, "Cleanliness is next to godliness." While the thought doesn't come from the Bible, it is still a philosophy most people endorse. Making sure people stay and feel clean is the moving force behind the plethora of soaps, cleansers, disinfectants, steamers and sanitizers that have flooded the market.
Staying clean is public opinion today, but it hasn't always been that way.
For example, did you know that America's first bathtub wasn't built until the year 1842? It's true. It was made in Cincinnati and unveiled that year at a Christmas party.
Would you like to know the reaction? I can tell you in one sentence: people were against it.
Objections came in from all over. Leading the way were the physicians who thought it would be a "menace to health." The papers said the bathtub was "a luxurious ... vanity." Even politicians got involved. Although I'm not sure how they enforced their rulings, Philadelphia issued a public ordinance that prohibited bathing from November 1 to March 15. Boston made bathing unlawful, except when prescribed by a physician. One state even levied a $30-a-year tax on every bathtub.
Yes, it's pretty hard to swim against the stream of popular opinion.
Still, our text above tells us Christians are to be first-class nonconformists. What God expects of us should be more important than what the world wants of us. Pleasing the Lord should be more important than pleasing our neighbor, and obeying our God ought be of greater consequence than keeping up with the Joneses.
And if anyone were to ask, "Why does the Lord think we ought to make His will and wishes of paramount importance?" they could be told: look to the cradle of Bethlehem, the cross of Calvary, the empty tomb of resurrection Sunday.
Especially in those places they will see the love of the Lord come to us in a tangible way. Especially in those places we will see the sacrifice the Savior made, so we might be forgiven and saved. It is here we will see how our salvation was of paramount importance to Him.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the world wants us to go one way, and You ask us to go another. Help us realize who has loved us the most and who has done the most to save us. Then, having realized this great truth, help us follow You without hesitation or indecision. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries