Someone once said that teen agers are the only group that expresses their individuality by dressing and acting just like all the other teens. In our political system today, one party votes in lock step for something while the other party votes in lock step in opposition. Many of us too have sought to ‘look’ and ‘act’ like others because we are not confident in who we are and what we think ourselves. We want to ‘fit in’ and ‘get along,’ so we will often ‘go along’ with whatever the crowd says.
In a historic study on influence, it was found that people will actually deny what they see and know to be true because of peer pressure and other group dynamics. You can watch the video of the historic study at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyDDyT1lDhA&feature=emb_title
In today’s culture, where so many have been told and taught that there is no absolute truth or right or wrong, we see a type of group think that has no basis in reality or ability to discern the facts or obtain the truth. People are moved along to a way of thinking and acting by a trend established by a single popular figure, who may or may not have any real knowledge of the subject on which they speak, teach, and lead others to follow.
Critical thinking and the ability to see reality and analyze facts is missing for many in our society today. Often children in classrooms are subject to group think methods instead of critical thinking and reasoning skills. So many today ‘go along to get along,’ and have absolutely no concept of why they do what they do from day to day. Those who preach anarchy have many who follow them ‘just for the H*** of it.’ Their moral compass is missing, and their values have vanished, if they were ever developed or existed in the first place. There are large groups that value no one and nothing at all, including themselves. They have no concept that they are a divine eternal soul wrapped in a physical body and made in the very image of God Almighty. Romans 8:7 says, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.”
Romans 12:2 teaches Christians, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Christians are called to think, to reason, and to renew our minds to understand God’s good, right and perfect will for our lives. We are called to “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2), and we must. When we set our minds on things above, I believe the things on the earth will work out too. Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Does this mean we won’t have troubles or struggles? No, but it does mean that when our thoughts are right and our priorities are straight, God will take care of us to provide for us and protect us.
So how are we to “be” in this world of divisiveness we see today? How do we handle the group think and cancel culture? What do we say to those who tell us our thoughts and ideas are not allowed or unacceptable? What do we say when we are told to be silent?
Perhaps we need to do a little homework and figure out what we truly believe and what we will stand for and what we won’t stand for.
Is our faith our own, or something our parents or the church told us to believe?
Is our faith something we could and would defend?
Do we have the words ready to give an answer for the hope within us? (I Peter 3:15)
How far would be go to live for the Christ who died for us?
Perhaps we need to do a gut check as Christians to see if we really have the guts to stand for what is true and right in spite of what “everyone else” thinks or says.
Paul said in II Corinthians 10:1-5, “By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”
Can we do this?
Are we prepared to take every thought captive as a soldier of Christ?
Are we the masters of our minds or simply going along with the mores of the day?
II Timothy 2:22-3 is a great read on this subject. It says, “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom[a] you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God[b] may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (ESV)
Each of us will stand or fall before our Master. I hope we will all stand faithfully. Each of us is a unique individual (just like everyone else), so I encourage you to be the best you that you can be, and don’t worry about following the crowds. Each Christian is an essential part of the body of Christ with specific skills and talents. Use them! Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” We don’t need to imitate others or ‘go along to get along.’ We need to each go along and spread the gospel. (Matthew 28:19) Some will plant, and some will water. Some will weed, and some will fertilize. (I Corinthians 3:6-7) Whatever you do and whatever your skill or talent, you – be you, as you seek and serve the Lord. And lastly, don’t worry about anything – God will give the increase.
©️ Robin House 01/22/2021
Additional references to the Asch study https://www.simplypsychology.org/asch-conformity.html