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by Tom Brown

Once at the end, I stepped outside to walk to the usual place that my mom picks me up. I decided to go with a new route this one time and pass through the massive crowds of teenagers underneath our skywalk. I couldn’t believe my eyes at first, yet as I looked again, I saw that absolutely everyone was wearing Hollister or some sort of name brand shirt. All the girls had the same big hair and the guys were wearing tight pants with slip on shoes. Everyone looked the same to me. I almost started laughing because I realized that all of these people, whether they knew it or not, looked and acted the same. They all seemed to walk the same and were texting on their cell phones.


High school is definitely the spot to see the effects of conformity. Step into a high school or middle school and you will find that almost everyone is wearing the same clothing, has the same type of hairstyle and spends their weekends doing the same things, either partying, working, or just hanging out. Not that there is anything wrong with having a cool hairstyle that looks like everyone else’s or wearing brands that everyone notices. I’m just trying to make my point in saying that teenagers are known to conform to their peers. I know we constantly think we are the special ones that aren’t like everyone else, and hopefully we are. I once heard this quote that said, “You are unique…..just like everyone else.” Everyone thinks they’re the unique ones.


However, I can guarantee that you have fallen for peer pressure at least once and have been sucked into some sort of conformity. Maybe it isn’t wearing name brand sweaters or listening to musical hits. Instead, you may be hanging out with friends who all hate a certain type of music or like to spend their nights playing video games. Somehow, their interests have inspired your interests and now you enjoy something you wouldn’t have discovered by yourself. This is where Jesus’ teaching comes in,


Rom 12:2, "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." (Yes, his will is PERFECT!)


1 Peter 2:11, "Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul."  (We’re aliens?)


Wait. What?! You mean we’re NOT supposed to conform to the pattern of this world? We’re not like everyone else? We’re ALIENS?! The answer is, yes!


 The problem is, it is so difficult to act like we’re not of this world! We like things and do things subconsciously because we want someone to acknowledge us so we think we’re not freaks. But, Jesus’ teaching says the opposite. We don’t even need human approval because we’re supposed to be impressing God.


 How does one even stick out among peers? Let’s look at Jesus as our example. Jesus defied the unwritten laws of conformity by hanging out with sinners and by healing on the Sabbath. These things were absolutely unheard of! He would not stop preaching even if people made fun of him or told him that he was wrong. People even went so far as to kill him.


Someone else who defied laws of conformity is John the Baptist. The man looked like he was living in a cave for goodness sakes! Yet, these people that we admire so greatly are the ones that stuck out in their times. They were the outcasts.


Since we are not of this world, we shouldn’t be acting like all of our peers. I’m not saying go buy new clothes and get a haircut. Conformity is more than just that. Conformity can mean changing your entire views on something to fit in or compromising beliefs because you don’t want to be the freak that doesn’t party. We always seem to want approval from friends and even random strangers. I know you don’t want to be an outcast, but that’s just one of the things that will bring us closer to God.


The ways of the world, especially nowadays it seems, are wicked. If we continue to live in wickedness how are we ever going to obey God’s word? What about what He wants? We know the bible says not to get drunk, don’t rebel against authority, and not to have sex until marriage. Yet, these things seem to help us fit in. They make us feel normal. But remember, we’re not normal. We’re aliens. Aliens aren’t followers, they’re leaders. Aliens don’t compromise their beliefs. They stick up for them, even if they are standing alone.


 If you really want to be an individual, don’t go out and get drunk or why don’t you get good grades in school. That will start getting your peers talking. And you know what? I have learned from experience that people respect you a lot more if you do not give into peer pressure. If you don’t drink or smoke, it blows their minds! If you don’t cuss, they wonder how it’s possible.


We’re supposed to be the examples. What if you’re the only Jesus someone ever sees? Are they going to see a Christian who actually obeys the Bible or are they going to see a Christian who is showing Jesus in a bad light? If someone knows you’re a Christian, they’re watching you. I know it sounds creepy and it stinks sometimes if you do somehow mess up, but we need to act like Jesus. Go ahead. Be rebellious and defy conformity. I dare you.





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