If Mr. T could sum up this bible verse, this is how I think he would say it,
“Don’t be a copycat, yo! I pitty the foo who doesn’t use what God gave ‘um! Don’t be lookin’ at whut yo neighbor’s got – look at what YOU got!”
If Mr. T ever returns my calls, I’ll let you know for sure how he interprets this scripture passage. But since he has like 27 body guards and a pit bull, I’m guessing he isn’t interested in chillaxin with me. It’s cool. I don’t need Mr. T, I already have peeps! (this is another perfect example of my sweet husband shaking his head and wondering if he should laugh… or run.)
When I read this verse is makes me cringe — which typically means there’s something I’m doing wrong or there’s something that I know I could be doing better. Here are the top 3 ways I interpret this verse and see myself screwing it up:
1. BUY IT: Ads are everywhere. Even on people’s clothes. Buy this! Feel GREAT about yourself and buy yourself this new pair of jeans … because you’re worth it! This technology will make your life so much better! Don’t miss this show, everyone is talking about it! Buy your kids this expensive brand of athletic clothes – even Pro Athletes are wearing this stuff!
- “Don’t copy the customs and behaviors of this world…” —> riiiiiiiight. So, don’t buy a new car when mine starts to smell like a tween boy (and all of this little friends too)? Don’t go get those jeans with the bling on the pockets so I look like every other cute mom in town? Don’t get my TEN year old son an iPhone even though his entire middle school is filled with kids who have iPhones, iPads and everything else? Sigh. But…… I don’t want to be WEIRD!
- Are you a Christian? Yeah – you’re going to be weird not simply because of what you believe, but because of how your beliefs are telling you to live. Tithe 10% of your income. Give until it hurts, and then keep giving. Feed the hungry. Serve the poor. Love your neighbor (yeah, the weird dude with tats and a Mohawk).
- So are you doing these things or are you copying the customs and behaviors of this world? I know… I have work to do too.
2. EVERYONE thinks this way!: I am completely disappointed in myself because I am about to do exactly what I said I would NEVER do when I was 13. I’m about to quote my mother. Can we have a moment of silence please?…… Thank you. My mom used to say, “Why would you ever want to be like everyone else?” Dangit. She’s right. Clearly with this demented sense of humor, God never created me to be like everyone else anyway. Do all your friends say, “I’ll pray for you” but they probably never do? Do they judge the moms who aren’t blinged out and talk trash about them behind their backs? Do they talk about “that kid” and shelter their kids from her instead of being the weird one and trying to reach out to her parents?
- “Let God transform you by changing the way you think…” —> But I like how I think. It has worked for me for all these years, so why change now? Has it? Really? You never feel guilty after you gossip? You never wonder what the frumpy mom is really like? You’re proud of teaching your kids that they are better than everyone else because they “never” have behavior issues?
- Are you a Christian? We already discovered that you’re going to be weird – so deal with it so we can move on. I’m waiting….. DEAL! Ok, I can see it’s going to take awhile for that to sink in so let’s just keep going. When you change the way you think, and what you deem important in your heart, your behavior will instinctively follow. If you’re a Christian you should be constantly picking apart the things that Jesus said … why? Because you’re a FOLLOWER of Jesus Christ! If you follow Katy Perry, you know everything about her —- right?!?! So why don’t you give Jesus that same amount of attention??? He tells us how to live by God’s life rules, but it’s up to us to let those rules change the way we think.
3. If only I could see God’s plans!: I’m so sick of everything going wrong! What is God up to? Why is this happening? Why can’t my husband find a job? Why does my kid have ADHD? Why…. why…. WHY?!?!?!
- “Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” —> FINALLY, I can know God’s will for me! It’s about time. Wait, what? I don’t get to see the whole plan? Well that’s not very good, or pleasing — and it’s far from perfect.
- Are you a Christian? Reading the bible and going to church aren’t going to solve all your problems… but here’s what will happen. The way you think is going to change. You won’t be able to help it. Jesus will be seeping into your soul like a gentle rain over dry, cracked soil. And here’s where the good happens — you feel His presence. And then the pleasing happens —- you learn to shush it up so you can hear when He whispers to you. And then the perfect happens — you obey and find that He loves you so much that you can hardly believe how much He loves you.
And then … all the customs of this world? They don’t matter to you anymore. The blingy jeans? You could care less. That frumpy mom? You hear God calling you to talk to her and find out what’s happening in her life.
It’s not about what you wear, what you have, where you live or what you drive… it’s about who you know and who you follow and who you are striving to become.
I know Jesus.
And that’s who I choose to follow.