“as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance.”
not conforming yourselves
Now we come to the fourth directive. This is no suggestion or hint. It is not good advice but a divine directive from heaven.
The words “not conforming” mean do not be shaped by those desires you had formerly. “Conforming” means to fashion or shape one thing like another, to form or mold after something. It carries the idea to conform one thing to another, to give the same figure or appearance as. This verb has more particular reference to that which is transitory, changeable, unstable.
“Conforming” is an act of assuming an outward appearance patterned after some specific thing. This is an appearance that does not come from and is not representative of one’s inmost and true nature. Here “conforming” refers to the acts of a child of God shown by habits, mannerisms, dress, speech, and behavior from which God saved him.
The believer here masquerades in the costume of the world. He relates to outward, changeable fashion in contrast to intrinsic reality. This verse warns against conforming to something changing and, therefore, illusory. To fashion our lives after the world means our lives will orient to something fleeting and unstable. If we fashion our lives after the Lord, our lives will be sure and secure.
We use the word fashion today to make a copy out of a thing. Style is the reflection of the lives we lead and the way we live them. Fashion is like a mirror that reflects the actual condition of our face. If our look is dirty, the mirror will reflect that. If a person has a dynamic relationship with the Lord, then his life will reflect that. The business of fashion is making norms suit our times and experiences. Napoleon said, “A man becomes a creature of his uniform.”
God does not want us to fashion our lives after the fickle fancies of men.
When a disobedient child of God develops a scheme that revolves around lusts, he is not allowing God to fashion him. When the believer masquerades in the costume of the world, he does not give proper expression to who he is. He is controlling his life, not God. He assumes the dress of the world. His fashion reflects his life.
God does not want us to control our lives. He wants to manage them. As Christians, when we devise our scheme for life, we will make a mess of it. We are then a disobedient child. We need to take our hands off the steering wheel of our lives. We should give our lives to Him lock, stock, and barrel; body, soul, and spirit. We should let the Lord fashion our lives.
We do not have to pull strings to make openings for ourselves. We do not have to know the right people; we do not have to play politics. All we need to do is commit our lives to God’s will: nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. We settle for nothing less than that.