Posted by: Rodney Shaw | February 21, 2010

Shrink Wrap

I like shrink wrap. I wish I could shrink wrap stuff at home—just take a big pile of junk and bundle it up in plastic. I think you can buy the cheap kind at craft stores, but I want the industrial grade. If my kids get out of line, I could just wrap them up! I could even throw the dog in there.

The beauty of shrink wrap is that it conforms to its environment. The same wrap fits any shape. It snuggles up to and takes the shape of whatever it has been draped over. Some catalyst, usually heat, causes the wrap to shrivel up and cling to whatever is underneath it. In a sense, the plastic runs from the heat and clings to the first thing it makes contact with.

And while shrink wrap is a nifty invention for packaging stuff, it is an unfortuante metaphor for the Christian life. Albeit, it is a perfect reflection of how many go about living the Christian life. Conforming to external pressures and temperature changes can only leave one bent out of shape and looking very much like everything in the immediate vicinity. And it is very difficult to unshrink plastic wrap that has been shrunk.

Paul warned of the danger of allowing oneself to take on the shape of one’s environment: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2, NKJV). We must be careful that we do not allow the world’s values—including politics, economics, entertainment, greed, and so forth—to push us into a mold. Our thinking needs to be Christian before it is Democrat or Republican. Our allegiance should be to God before country. Our morals cannot be borrowed from Hollywood. Our sense of propriety, modesty, and decency must not be determined by those whose agenda seeks to glorify lust, fornication, adultery, and homosexuality.

I am amazed when I see evangelical Christians stand up and defend the inerrancy of Scripture, the exclusivity of Christianity, and the universal guilt of humanity and then undress down to bikinis and go swimming in mixed company or go watch adultery, fornication, and mayhem at a movie theater. This is conforming to the world.

Who determines standards of conduct? Who decides what is normal behavior? Who decides what is wholesome entertainment? Who decides what is acceptable devotion? We would argue vehemently that those in the fashion and entertainment industries should not! It is a known fact that an overwhelming majority of these industries are controlled by those whose values are inconsistent with Christian values. Why then would we adopt their standards as normative? We should not. Do not be conformed to this world.

If this all sounds prudish and old-fashioned, that proves the point. Living for Jesus Christ will eventually force a person to take a stand against culture. Jesus stood against His culture. The apostles stood against their culture. Devoted Christians have always stood against culture. Are we exempt? Is it a badge of honor that we now are part of the mainstream of society? Is it a good thing if there are no noticeable differences between Christians and unbelievers?

It makes one wonder why some professing Christians prefer to adopt worldly ways. Do they enjoy worldliness or do they fear persecution? Leave the shrinking to plastic wrap.

© Rodney Shaw and rodneyshaw.wordpress.com 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rodney Shaw and rodneyshaw.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Responses

  1. I came across your blog sometime ago and stopped today and read this piece. I think you write very well. However, I believe Jesus and the apostles took a stand against sin, not culture. Maybe I misread or misunderstood what you were saying. In my lens, culture is not sin. Please, I don’t mean any disrespect by this and I would like to hear back from you.

    I went to Websters and it states culture as the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group;. Perhaps, this is what you meant by culture? Jesus took a stand against the traditions of the Pharisees. Is this what you meant by culture?

    In Matthew 15 Jesus tells the Pharisees & scribes “ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.” He also tells them it’s “Not that which goeth into the mouth that defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”

    You ask, “Is it a good thing if there are no noticeable differences between Christians and unbelievers?” Noticeable to who? is my question.

    What is a christian suppose to look like?

    Isn’t it God who looks at the heart of each one us? Should we not dress modestly and do all things in moderation? Should we, male and female dress pleasing to God or are there other guidelines we should follow?

    Rodney, I hope this response is not offensive to you, It is not meant to be. I would just like some clarification.

    Thank you.
    Linda Sawhill

  2. So true. Thanks for the reminder not to conform to the world but to God!

  3. Beautiful. I enjoyed reading this very much.

  4. Rodney….another great piece. Thankyou!


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