So what? The conformity of a non-conformist
David Brickner’s article this month challenges us to think about what would be the same and different from the Jesus People movement if a Holy Spirit revival were to break out today.
Would you be part of a Jesus People movement today? Would I? When you think about the countercultural aspects of that movement, do you resonate with it? Feel excluded? Or just disinterested?
I ask because I think that non-conformity has a huge role to play in the moving of the Holy Spirit . . . but paradoxically, so does conformity. So whether you think of yourself as a conformist or a non-conformist, try this on for size: God’s Spirit will move in you mightily when you accept the conformity of a Christian non-conformist.
Everyone conforms to something. No matter how robust our personalities, I don’t form opinions or make decisions or behave a certain way in a vacuum, and neither do you. That’s why we’re supposed to read the Bible and “not forsake the assembling together of the brethren.” We find in God’s Word and with God’s people the ideas, boundaries, accountability and faith we need to make us malleable to God’s Spirit . . . so that His spirit can conform us into the image of Messiah (Christ). If we are not being conformed to the image of Christ, we are being conformed to something less. It really is that simple.
Some may think that in order to be countercultural, a person needs to be rebellious at heart. The truth is, we are all rebellious at heart in one way or another. One way to rebel is to reject authority because we simply don’t want anyone telling us what to do or restricting our choices in any way. Another way is to rebel when authorities, be they governmental or cultural, want us to conform to thoughts or behavior that violate our conscience, and, in the case of Christians, prevent us from being people of God.
Christianity has always been countercultural and it must remain so if we are to see people’s lives radically changed by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works within the context of this world, but not within the culture of this world. That is why you and I are called to be in the world (contextually), but not of the world (culturally). We can’t be conformed to the image of Messiah while being conformed to the unbelieving world culture around us.
Refusal to conform can be carried out quietly or demonstrated dramatically. It can be obvious, so as to draw attention and stimulate public conversation, or it can be subtle, gradually gaining momentum over the course of many private conversations. There is not a right or wrong way to let others know we are conforming to our Messiah rather than to the culture around us—so long as we are letting them know. So what does the conformity of a Christian non-conformist look like in your life?
Newsletter Editor, Missionary
Ruth Rosen, daughter of Jews for Jesus founder Moishe Rosen, is a staff writer and editor with Jews for Jesus. Her parents raised her with a sense of Jewishness as well as "Jesusness." Ruth has a degree in biblical studies from Biola College in Southern California and has been part of our full-time staff since 1979. She's toured with Jewish gospel drama teams and participated in many outreaches. She writes and edits quite a few of our evangelistic resources, including many broadside tracts. One of her favorites is, "Who Needs Politics." Ruth also helps other Jewish believers in Jesus tell their stories. That includes her father, whose biography she authored in what she says was "one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life." For details, or to order your copy of Called to Controversy the Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus, click here. Or click here for a video desription of the biography. For the inside story and "extras" about the book, check out our Called to Controversy Facebook page. Ruth also writes shorter "faith journey" stories in books like Jewish Doctors Meet the Great Physician as well as in booklets like From Generation to Generation: A Jewish Family Finds Their Way Home, which you can download for free here. She edits the Jews for Jesus Newsletter and RealTime for Christians who want to pray for our ministry and our missionaries. In her spare time, Ruth enjoys writing fiction and playing with her dog, Annie, whom she "rescued" from a shelter. Ruth says, "Some people say that rescue dogs have issues, and that is probably true. If dogs could talk, they'd probably say that people have issues, and that is probably even more true. I'm glad that God is in the business of rescuing people, (and dogs) despite—or maybe because of—all our issues." You can follow Ruth Rosen on facebook or as RuthARosen on twitter.