Growing up, a couple of my sons were fascinated with reptiles and rodents. Not atypical for boys, but they also had a strong desire to own and nurture them.
In a cage.
In our house.
Along with the traditional kittens, dogs and farm animals, at various times, we also raised hamsters, guinea pigs and iguanas.
While I never warmed up to any of the more exotic critters, the iguanas were my least favorite. They’re slimy and ugly and they do very little beyond lay on their bellies in the sun. Because they need warmth to thrive, their abode was equipped with a tiny heating pad. I do not need to describe what can happen when said device is turned up a little too high.
I might have felt more “affection” for the iguanas if they had the characteristics of chameleons. These miniature dragons (whose name in Greek means “lion of the ground”) are distinguished by their ability to change color through pink, blue, red, orange, green, black, brown, light blue, yellow, turquoise, and purple. A lot more interesting than plain old pea green and brown.
Besides being a great way to “blend in” with their environment, scientists believe chameleons change color as a form of “social signaling”. Their color change indicates their attitude toward other chameleons. “Chameleons tend to show darker colors when angered, or attempting to scare or intimidate others, while males show lighter, multicolored patterns when courting females.” (Wikipedia)
Don’t we all act a bit “chameleonish” at times? Haven’t we found ourselves wanting to blend in, “changing colors” to seem more acceptable under certain circumstances?
While adapting to the color of their surroundings may work for miniature dragons, it isn’t an admirable practice for someone who claims to be a believer in truth and transparency.
If I present myself in one circumstance as a follower of Christ, then turn around and deny his sovereignty with attitudes that allow me to “fit in” with another crowd, just who do I think I’m fooling?
My unbelieving friends may be tricked into thinking I’m a beast of a different color, but my true friends will look past the color of my skin to the condition of my heart, and they’ll know in whose image I was created.
Conforming so we won’t stand out when we are called to be “the light of the world” is denying the very God who created us.
I'd rather stand out and be transformed than adapt and conform. Click To Tweet
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
When I find myself in circumstances that tempt me to take on a different hue, may I remember that lasting change comes when I stay the course and remain true to what I know. And that it’s okay — even admirable — to stand out like a “sore thumb.”
My reptile-loving sons would have gotten a kick out of this experiment: