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.
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