“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. “ Romans 12:2 (NIV)
I have a favorite t-shirt that shows a fish swimming upstream. The shirt says, “Go against the flow.”
I've never been one to conform. In junior high school English class we read The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. The last sentence of that poem struck a chord in my heart...
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”
I knew then that I would always take the road less traveled. I wanted to be different, to think for myself, to do what I thought right no matter what everyone else thought or did.
That resolve has taken many forms. It led me to buck the system, rebel, be adventurous, be independent...some of these things were good, some landed me in hot water, but I was always my own person.
When I came to Christ, I committed myself to him wholeheartedly. I fell in love with God and with His word. I wanted to live the rest of my life the way He wanted me to live it.
Unfortunately, in those early days of faith, I had no idea how God wanted me to live my life, so I decided I should probably conform to the model of Christianity I saw at church; first to the dress code of the church, then to the behavior of those in the church and finally to all the rules and regulations of the denomination.
I played the game, not understanding all the rules, but fully recognizing when I fell short by the looks of disdain on my fellow Christian's faces. I didn't really fit the part, didn't look the part and often didn't behave the part.
Just about the time I was ready to give up, I read this...
“continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Philippians 2:12-18 (NIV)
The King James Version says “...work out your own salvation...”
This passage set me on the path to an exciting and adventurous life with Christ. First I noticed the words “your own salvation” and realized that I was on a personal journey. It was my walk with God, not someone else's and that I was to work things out between me and God, not follow the rest of the crowd.
And second, it taught me that it's God who works in me to bring me to the point that I want to behave according to His will and to want to follow His path for my life. I didn't have to do the work myself, I just had to stay plugged into Christ and obedient to His word and cooperate with Him as he made the necessary changes in me.
This brought me full-circle. Once again I find myself on an adventurous path, not worried about where the rest of the world wanted me to go, but following the road less traveled.
Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)
I don't want the well-traveled road, the wide gate and broad path that most of this world follows. I want the narrow gate...the one that few find...the road less traveled, for it's on that road that I walk with Jesus and find peace and joy for the journey.
So call me a rebel – I'm proud to be one.
(Copyright© 2010 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)