And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed
by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good
and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2, NKJV).
I just finished taping the “Christianity in a Changing Culture” program out of Minneapolis, and the topic reminded me of the news I’d received late yesterday of the home-going of David Wilkerson. David authored several books, founded the outstanding Teen Challenge ministry that has helped so many get their lives back on track, and also founded the Times Square Church in New York City. Having known several people whose lives (not only on earth but for eternity) were personally changed as a result of this man’s ministry, I was deeply impacted by the news.
And yet I know that David is now rejoicing with the Savior he served so faithfully during his earthly sojourn. One of the things I remember most about this man of God is that he did not compromise God’s Word. Though he worked with some of the most dangerous elements of humanity, preaching the gospel to those who were hostile to his message, he never backed down from the Truth; he never compromised to adapt to a changing culture.
David understood the importance of not being “conformed to this world” in his thinking. He was not impressed with financial success or cowed by physical threats. His mind was focused on the One who had saved him and called him to preach the gospel to others who also needed salvation. Though I didn’t know David personally, I am certain that he was able to resist being conformed to the world’s skewed way of thinking because he was daily transformed by the renewing of his mind through the continual reading and studying of God’s Word.
I am always amazed when I meet Christians who have known Jesus for years and yet their words exhibit the world’s way of thinking. I’ve found that if I probe a bit, I soon learn that though they have been born again and may even attend church, they don’t practice personal, daily Bible study and prayer. Hence, they have allowed themselves to be conformed to the world rather than transformed by the power of God’s Word.
What was it that made David Wilkerson such an admired man of God? Was it his writing or speaking, his courageous ministry to street gangs and people with addictions? All those things were outgrowths of who he was in Christ and how he thought and lived, but the real key is that he was undoubtedly a man who refused to be conformed to the world and instead practiced the necessary disciplines to have his mind transformed to that of His Savior. May his legacy inspire us all to do the same, regardless of the changing culture in which we live!