Conforming to Christ

This world is full of temptation, and sometimes it’s easier to give in to the ways of the world, rather than cling to Jesus.

Romans 12:1-2 says ,”I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  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.”

These verses remind us the importance of not conforming to this world. What does conform mean? – you may ask. To conform, according to the dictionary, means to comply with rules, standards, or laws.

Although God calls us to be of heaven and not of earth, it often seems we would be saved much discomfort by giving into peer pressure. But what is worldly discomfort compared to the ultimate, eternal joy of heaven?

“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.” (Mathew 16:25-27)

Today I want to share a story about a man who refused to conform even though everyone around him had given in.

The man circled in the picture above, August Landmesser, was previously a member of the Nazi party. That is, until he met the woman he would marry. Irma Eckler was a Jew. But August loved her nonetheless. However, when the Nazi party caught wind of their engagement, they stripped August of his position and forbid the marriage. The couple disregarded the wishes of the Nazis and were married anyway.

They spent four years together and had two children before August would be taken away forever. In 1938 August was taken to a concentration camp under the grounds that he had defiled the Aryan race. Irma met a similar fate. Both died sometime in-between 1940 and 1949. Their two daughters, Irene and Ingrid, survived the war and kept the memory of their parents with them forever.

What I want to pull out of this story is the fact that neither August or Irma conformed to this world. They knew the love they had was more precious than any government. They had experienced the evils of the Nazi party firsthand. The trials they faced led August to refuse to salute to Hitler.

If you look at August’s stance in the photo, he is not passively standing by. Everything about him reads defiance: the crossed arms, the look in his eye. He knows that he cannot be like those around him, blindly following an evil government.

We may not face the same trials as August and Irma, but everyone experiences that moment in their lives when they have to decide whether to follow the world or to follow God.

I pray that we choose to be like August and not conform to this world.

Jesus asks us “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?”

Nothing. This world is passing away.

And when this world is gone, I want my treasure to be in heaven, not in this world. Because if my treasure is in this world, I’m going to loose everything.

But when I place my treasure in Jesus, I’ll gain everything and more.

C.S Lewis says, “Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ, and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”

Let’s be people who seek Christ above all else so we might be transformed by the renewal of our minds. When we seek Christ, we see the glorious value in not conforming to this world.


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