Living a Life of Innovation or Imitation?
Despite all the innovation shown at the recent CES Show, writer, pastor and Las Vegas resident, Jeff Chaves asks, "Was there truly anything new there?"
I had the privilege of roaming the floor of the Las Vegas convention center last week at CES 2017. CES is the Consumer Electronics Show and it’s one of the largest gatherings of its kind. They were expecting about 175,000 people from all over the world to enter the various convention halls, spread out over three locations, to get a glimpse of the newest technology.Just about every imaginable kind of technology was on display from TVs to self-driving cars. There was small tech, like a tiny, bluetooth personal assistant called Xperia, and there was big tech, like massive video screens that were larger than a semi truck. There was flying tech like drones, road tech like electric bikes, and there was underwater tech like water resistant ear buds, so you can listen to music while you swim. Practically everywhere you looked there was something different.The more I looked around, though, the more I realized that there was actually very little that was truly new. There were a lot of gadgets that were simply imitations of something that already existed. For example, there were dozens of drones, but they were all basically the same with slightly different features and controls. There were hundreds of different televisions, but they basically just added on features. Many boasted 4K, 6K, even 8K images, but they still were just entertainment screens. Where was the real innovation? Where was something that has never been seen?That is also true of our walk of faith. Are we an imitation or an innovation? Yes, we are to be imitators of Christ (1Cor 11:1, Eph 5:1, 1Th 1:6), but that is only after we have become something new. Like Paul says in 2 Corinthians:“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” - 2 Cor 5:17That means Christ has made us an innovation, something that is absolutely new. The word for new here means “something previously unknown.” Like on the CES floor I saw an ingenious projector/scanner that turned your entire desk into a touch screen computer monitor. What made it truly innovative is that they were demonstrating an architectural program using projection mapping. The designer arranged different shaped blocks onto the desktop surface and an outline of a basic floor plan was projected on the blocks. He then used other tools and shapes to create a rendering from the blocks. He takes away the blocks, and there is a blueprint image. I don’t know much about architecture but, to me, that was something previously unknown. It seems like anyone could design with shapes.As believers we are supposed to be something brand new and not imitators of the things of this world. Think about your life. Since you became a follower of Christ, have you really changed? Is your life brand new? Something previously unknown? Or have we somehow reverted back to our old lifestyle and old patterns? As Paul says in his letter to the Romans:“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” - Romans 12:2This is one of my favorites. The word Paul chose for “conform” is taken from a jewelry-making term that means to do as a silversmith does with a mold. He heats up the silver and pours it into the mold. The silver conforms to every nook and cranny of the mold. Think about how that works in our lives. The world wants to heat us up and mold us into some kind of image. This is like the many 3D printers that I saw at the show. A scanned image of an object is given to the printer and it renders out of plastic, an exact imitation out of conformed plastic.Are there areas in life where we are tempted to conform to a pattern of the world? The world says that it’s OK to do something that we know is a sin. We might be tempted to follow the pattern of the world just this one time. We may even see other Christians doing the same thing. Then the temptation becomes even more difficult. This is when the second part of that passage comes in, “be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” This is like the virtual reality viewers that I tried on at CES. The world around you is suddenly transformed. In one demonstration, I went virtually from the Las Vegas Convention Center to a Panda preserve in China. I was standing next to the scientists who were feeding the cute bear cubs. It wasn't real though. As soon as I took the goggles off, I was back. That is like the transformation that we need to get in our minds. If we are God’s, then the sin gives the illusion. The illusion of happiness, fulfillment or freedom, but how quickly that transforms to guilt and shame.So let me ask you: Is your life an innovation or an imitation? Have you been made brand new? Has your life been really changed? If not, why not do something about that right now. We need only to pray to the universe’s greatest innovator, God, and ask Him to make us new. Has your life morphed into an imitation? Has your life been molded by the world around you into something that God did not intend. The solution is the same, pray to the greatest molder and shaper. He knows who you are and who you are intended to be. Jesus died so that we could become an innovation. Why not reach out to Him today?
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