My skiing, while nowhere close to "beautiful," is fast. So several years ago, at the direction of my wife, I bought my first ski helmet. All years prior, a winter hat or baseball cap were the only items I placed on my head as I carved the slopes.
In the early days of my skiing, only the skiers who did not concern themselves with fitting in chose to wear helmets. Now only the skiers (and boarders) who do not concern themselves with the protection of their heads choose not to wear them.
This makes me wonder. Why do most of us concern ourselves with fitting in?
Why did the Israelites want a king?
To be like everyone else.
Why do students ask for the same hairstyles?
To fit in.
Why do adults "need" the latest "smart" device?
To do what others are doing.
There is a reason "keeping up the the Joneses" is a well-worn phrase. Long before the Joneses were a thing, the Apostle Paul observed a trend. He observed how easily humans (including Christians) drifted toward fitting in. Upon noticing such an occurrence, Paul wrote these words . . .
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Romans 12:2a (NIV)
No effort is needed to conform. It is a natural (fallen nature) degradation. Transformation, however, requires commitment. Commitment to mind renewal.
How then can we protect and renew our minds?
1. Wear a helmet (when necessary 😉).
2. Read the Bible.
3. Engage in helpful rather than harmful conversations.
4. Select entertainment that adds value and joy to your life.
5. Learn to be okay with being different.
(See 1 Peter 1:17 and 2:11-12.)
And, finally, as number 6 - live by the words of Paul . . .
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8 (NIV)