Conforming to His Likeness
When I say “Your favorite pair of jeans”, I’m willing to bet is there a particular pair that pops into your mind instantly? You’ve probably owned them for a while. Maybe it’s a pair that is now long gone and you’ve yet to find a replacement. You used to wear them out on date night, but over time they became your go-to when you just wanted to be comfy. You could do anything in them. You could grab a book and sink down into the couch for hours. Or you could just as easily play a game of football in the backyard. They just feel like a part of you.
How do you get that feeling of oneness with a pair of jeans? The key is they conform to you. A great pair of jeans supports where you need support. They bend where you need to bend. They are strong, but gentle. They’re durable, yet flexible.
We’ve all had an ill-fitting article of clothing and it drives us crazy. It’s not as giving, and after a couple uses, the unforgiving garment ends up either on its way to a donation box, or in the trash. We quickly part company. If there is too much stress between you the garment, it will eventually cause fabric and seam to give out. Something has got to give. HINT # 1: Your body is NOT the one who is going to conform to the tight jeans!
But consider how a tree can grow straight up and through an old abandoned car and yet remain healthy. Bending and moving around the frame til it seemingly swallows up the car. It and the car quite literally become one. But the car, which its unwillingness to bend without breaking cannot drive through the tree unscathed.
So Ol’ Blue can teach us a spiritual lesson. Whether it’s a bad pair of jeans or an old car, the one that remains flexible outlasts the rigid hardened one. When it comes to our relationship with God, either you have to conform to Him, or He has to conform to you. HINT # 2: God is NOT going to conform to you. And if we persist in that unrealistic expectation, it will not only be uncomfortable, but under the pressure of it all, something will eventually give way.
The lesson from the jeans and the tree: if we will be pliable in the hands of our Maker, he begins to mold us. We take on His shape. His nature. His likeness. We become one with Him. We work when He desires to us to work. We rest when He desires to rest. We learn to bend, run, stretch and be still at His pleasure rather than our own. And in all these things we find an irreplaceable and enduring comfort and strength.
Romans 12:2, “Do not conform 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.” It is our choice. We can stubbornly try to conform to the hard, unforgiving world, or we can soften, yield ourselves, and be transformed into the likeness of Christ.