Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2).
Conformity is the idea of something being pressured so that it changes its original shape. The catching word is pressured. When you place an egg in your hands and compress it, it will crush. It breaks and takes a different shape because of the force you have exerted on it. The pressure that you apply is coming from outside the egg and not inside. Same applies to the world. The world’s pressures (fame, power, wealth, success, and acceptance) are outside us. Because of man’s sinfulness these pressures are a natural attraction. We can then paraphrase by saying that the gospel artists must not be pressured by the world to change their shape of music. The world (an organized system that is contrary to God’s will) has a certain way of doing things which suite them. The world loves things that are contrary to God’s will because they are not Christ centered. On the other hand the believer is expected to do things in accordance to God’s will. When the believer does things to please God, he will be hated by the world because those things will be Christ centered. Look at this, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” John 15:19. We can get a principle that we can apply to music and it is this: if you go and sing in a bar and the world (the unsaved) are not moved to think about their sin but instead rejoice at the sound of the music then there is a serious problem. Does the world love or hate your music? Remember; if you belonged to the world, it would love you. When you sing, does the world agree with it and want more of it? If so, then be assured that you are conforming to the world. It doesn’t matter whether your aim is to spread the gospel. The fact of the matter is that you are conforming to the world and doing so is sin. Sharing the gospel must not be sinful. Remember; do not be conformed to the pattern of this world.
The artist must also not conform to the pattern of this world by being transformed (becoming more like Christ). We need again to understand transformation. While conforming is as a result of pressure from outside, transforming is as a result of pressure from the inside. The believer gets changed from the inside through the work Holy Spirit. I remember some few weeks ago I was cooking some maize. Someone once told me that for it to cook well you need to place a plastic bag on top so that the vapor does not escape. I pressed the bag on top which fitted well in the pot and then placed the pot on a heated stove. Within a few minutes the vapor began to push the bag outward. In my ignorance I tried to push the bag back into the original form. Honestly, I don’t remember the last time I screamed so loud. Thank God for the sense of feeling which helped me realize I was going to burn my hand if had not removed it from the bag. I was defeated. I could not press the bag downward anymore because of the heat that was inside. This is exactly what is meant by transformation. I was the world, the plastic bag was another person and the vapor represented the Holy Spirit. Just like the world, I was able to press the bag into the shape that I wanted by the force I exerted. However, to do the same thing a second time with the vapor present was difficult. It was hard because there was something inside the bag that was stronger than me and it was pushing the bag outward. In like manner, the Holy Spirit helps the believer push the pressures of the world away. Notice that the steam does not just come up. It is produced when heat is applied. Same applies with transformation. It just doesn’t happen when the believer is idle. You need to apply the heat. This heat is the word of God. The Holy Spirit transforms the believer through the abiding and living word of God. “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 3:18. Remember: be transformed.
Based upon the above analysis, the artist must then be able to ask himself a few questions: Do I walk in the Spirit? Am I being transformed? Do I understand God’s word with correct interpretation? If so then how am I using this to produce music that will not conform to the pattern of the world? Remember that transformation is the work of the Holy Spirit and since transformation is the work of the Holy Spirit then only a genuinely converted person is able to become Christ-like hence not conform to the pattern of the world.
The artist must also be able to know God’s perfect will. He must be able to discern God’s will. Again discerning spiritual things is not done by ordinary people. It comes through the aid of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10-15). Proving God’s will comes as a result of transformation through renewing of the mind. God’s good, acceptable and perfect will is when one reaches a point where he says, “I love what I am doing because it is what God wants me to do. His will for me is good, acceptable and perfect.” And surely, God’s will, is not one which will conform to the pattern of the world. Remember; Know God’s will.