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Monday, January 27, 2014

Not of the World.

2Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2a
The world has a very different view of dance than God intended.  These verses talk about not conforming to the pattern of this world. What is the pattern of this world? Well, before we look at this question, let’s discuss why this topic is even relevant. For many, there hasn’t been a difference between their faith life, so to speak, and the world’s influence.
As men and women, we go about our lives looking for something.  As children we want to please our parents, whether we know it or not, we are looking for approval.  Its as if the we didn’t swing on the swing and jump so far off it if the parents have not seen it yet.  It is as if we don’t have any worth at all if we don’t have our parents approval.  Then as we grow up we are looking for our worth from our peers and those around us.  What does the world say we need to do to have worth? Well, there are all sorts of statements we see or hear each day.  From the clothes or phones peers rave about at school or the best dress for prom, others can get discouraged feeling less ‘approved’ if they didn’t get certain compliments, etc.  We hear them through commercials and through friends that discuss what’s important to them, for example, that great backyard or big house from the Menard’s or Lowe’s commercials and HGTV network, even what cars we drive, etc.  So our worth can very easily be influenced by those around us or the ‘world’.
Well God teaches something radically different. What is the viewpoint of those examples I gave above?  Self centered. One of the first things I teach my worship dancers, is to think of others and not to think of yourself.  When a dancer is nervous about being in front of others for a recital/service, etc. I state, ‘you are thinking of yourself’, think on God and who He is and your nervousness will fade.  We as humans can be very self centered looking for approval and worth from those around us. Instead, God teaches us to think of others above yourselves.  He says in 1st Timothy 6:6, ‘Godliness with contentment is great gain’.  Platt says in his book Radical, “In the context of this passage, contentment is described as having food and clothing, having the necessities of life provided for....and those who desire to be rich and acquire more than the necessities of life are in danger of being plunged into ruin and destruction.”  Can we be content with what we have and not desire more?  Can we think of others and what God would want from us instead of what we want?  
Approval and worth in some instances in the Bible/ means: hence to please, winning someone's favor (affection, approval). So we are literally trying to win someone’s favor when we are looking for approval.  The Scripture also teaches to -be not conformed ... - The word rendered "conformed" properly means to put on the form, fashion, or appearance of another. It may refer to anything pertaining to the habit, manner, dress, style of living, etc., of others, from Barnes Notes on the Bible/  So whose approval are we looking for in all our decisions each day? How many times a day is the hope of someone’s approval the driving force for our words and actions? 
God says to be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  The word transformed is derived from the Greek form metamorph├│┼Ź, which is the root of the English terms "metamorphosis" and "metamorphize.  It literally means to transfigure or transform.  Now we must note that the scripture says we are to ‘be transformed’. So we cannot do this ourselves, but it is something done TO us, and how is this done to us? It is done by the renewing of our minds. Renewing means to make new.  2 Corinthians 5:17 says,  ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!’ This is done by our minds, which in this case means our intellect, will and emotions.  So we are to be changing our minds and how is this done? By learning what brings God’s approval. Looking at His word and getting to know what He desires for us.  
He says His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).  As Pastor Matthew said this Sunday at church, we must be connected to the vine. The true vine, Jesus and know what He knows. We must search the Scripture and pray in order to love others the way He does, in order to be humble like Him and think of others just like He does.  We must be connected to Him.  I pray the Lord will give us a desire to know Him more by reading His word and through prayer.  This will take time and we must be radical in our time management so we can get to know Him better.  Our time is truly His time anyways, take His time to get to know Him, the author of time and literally of yourself.  
So what does this have to do with dance?  We must as dancers get to know Him if we are to dance to honor Him. Most dance schools have an underlying message saying, ‘in order to be a great dancer you must think of yourself as being great and its all about you, its how you dance, how you look, how skinny you are, etc.’. Plus the performances can be very self consuming. They are also teaching children how to ‘dress to impress’ and most of the outfits to dance in are very skimpy for practice and recitals.  One school nearby has even little girls as young as 5 yrs. old wear bootie shorts and a sports bra for practice.  This is actually exploiting our girls at a young age by causing them to think its appropriate to wear these types of clothing that call attention to their bodies and give them ‘worth‘ through their bodies.  Our girls are to be cherished and told from a young age to honor God with their bodies and lives, by dressing modestly, and valuing healthy lives, not the skinny type., by being kind and thinking of others, as well as, staying humble by not thinking of themselves as the best. There are many more ways to not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds in our lives and in dance.  If you have comments and ideas, please add them here! Thanks!

1 comment:

  1. The world has a very different view of dance than God intended........
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