Shaped by the master craftsman

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. 
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect. (Romans 12:2)

When one 'conforms', they will become similar in form, nature, or character to that which they are seeing modeled. Behavior is most often 'modeled' before it is anything we 'conform' to, isn't it? For example, you may not even consider having an ice cream cone until you see everyone along the boardwalk happily warding off the heat of the day with their favorite scoops. They became the 'models' of the behavior you are about to conform to - obtaining a cone of your own delightfully rich scoops! The ice cream example is tame compared to some of the things modeled for us today - things that we may not exactly want to conform to - things that will create within us a set of behaviors that will in no way honor our heavenly Father.

God asks us to keep our eyes on Christ Jesus - the author and finisher of our faith. Why? He knows we need a solid 'model' by which we can evaluate our behavior. He also knows he wants us to have a solid example of the character developing within us as we walk along with Jesus each and every day. It is that character that will help us to no longer be carried along by every whim and fancy of the hour. It is the integrity of Christ's example we are to model - taking on his nature and allowing his character to begin to transform us within. The 'shaping' process of character development is not instantaneous - a craftsman needs time to bring out the right form.

Our way of thinking is the beginning of all character transformation. We need God's help more today than ever before to keep our minds clear and focused on pure thoughts. As markets go up and down, prices go up and up, and calamity after calamity seems to mount, it is imperative that we keep our minds clearly focused on what will give us solid footing. It would be easy to be caught up in all the negative predictions and unrest around us. Maybe this is why God reminds us it is not this world we need to conform to - it is Christ - his mind, his peace, and his heart. Just sayin!

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