As I mature, there is always a chance that I move with the daily crowd. Will I be ‘adjusted’ to the culture that is taking me for a ride? There is always a danger that society-living will pull me into its own value systems. Then, suddenly I will find it difficult to run away from things I do not like to be a part of. Will this lead me to think that I am superior to all others? That too is a real danger in developing a different attitude to society. Yet, I have to see what I can take and what I can keep off…
In every society, there are people and peoples’ groups that choose to keep themselves aloof from the daily crowd around them. Japan has it, US has it, UK has it, Egypt has it, Turkey has it, and India has it. Often, media has stories of these peoples’ group for all wrong reasons. So, where does an individual got to stand and find his rightful place in his society?
One reading that often gets me into the root of this anxiety is to be found in the Book of Romans, in the Holy Bible. There St. Paul writes,
“I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” (Letter to Romans 12: 1 and 2)This is a terrific message! I want to quote the same message from another translation of the Holy Bible made by Eugene Peterson that reads the same passage thus:
So here’s what I want to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life –your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around-life and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. ( from ‘The Message’)