So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (MSG)
There are two measuring instruments that have similar names but different functions. One is a thermometer: it reflects its environment, telling you how hot or cold it is. The other is a thermostat: it affects its environment, it can alter how hot or cold it is. Followers of Jesus are to be thermostats and not thermometers. We are to affect our environment not just reflect it.
This doesn’t mean we become weird or eccentric. Beware of becoming so suspicious of surrounding culture that we quarantine ourselves from it and so have little or no effect on it. We are not to erect walls around us to keep us safe, but build bridges that enable us to connect with the world in which we live.
However, there is the opposite danger of becoming so immersed in our culture that our distinctiveness is compromised. We are just like everyone else but with a bit of religion thrown in, and not quite as bad as those who go to extremes.
Our passage reminds us that as we pay attention to the Spirit of God, we are alerted to how we can be godly non conformists. As we offer our whole selves to God each day, we will be shown by him how to live and speak in such a way that makes a positive difference to wherever it is he places us. And so we pose this question to ourselves: “is my family, my neighbourhood, my community group or workplace a better place because I am in it and because Jesus is in me?”