Lowest Common Denominator
Romans 12:2 - Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
1 Corinthians 15:33 - Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
Proverbs 13:20 - Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Proverbs 25:26 - Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.
'Lowest common denominator' is often used as a figure of speech meaning the most basic, least sophisticated level of taste, sensibility, or opinion among a group of people. No one wants to be referred by it, but there is a pattern in both hockey and life that this applies to very directly.
How many times have we seen the top team toppled by the bottom team? True, many times the underdog plays a great game, but the favorite many times doesn’t play to their potential. When surrounded by lower level of skill and competition, they don’t attain to what they are capable. The go with the ‘lowest common denominator’. So many times people are similar in that when surrounded by poor morals, we conform to the poor morals and do not attain to the standards we believe in. We go with the ‘lowest common denominator’. Proverbs 25:26 describes this situation very well – ‘Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked’.
A team‘s ability / level of play should be consistent – reflecting their way of playing, not swayed by the opponent. It’s one thing for a tough opponent to force the pace or style of play and it’s another to lower the level of play because of a lower level team. As a team should resist forming to that ‘pattern’ of lower play around them, so Christians must resist the pattern of this world, of corrupt morals (Romans 12:2).
It’s not always easy, but scripture gives some practical advice to help us from becoming the Lowest Common Denominator. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says ‘Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”’ And Proverbs 13:20 says ‘Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm’. It’s unusual for a single righteous person to bring a group into righteousness, but it’s common for a ‘good kid’ to follow a group into iniquity. They are conformed to the pattern being pressed on them.
If Christians are going to be lights in the darkness (Matthew 5:14-16), we must resist being conformed to the pattern of this age. It will press on us and try to mold us, like a mint pressing a coin. But if we walk with the wise we will become wise, if we avoid bad company we will avoid corrupted morals, and if we are transformed by the renewing of our minds in Jesus Christ we will know the will of God and be like a city on a hill.
In what areas of your life have you given in to the ‘least common denominator’?
What practical steps can you take to be transformed by the renewing of your mind?
For more reading see Psalm 1:1-4, Proverbs 14:7, Psalm 26:4-5, Philippians 4:8
Posted on Wed, January 23, 2013
by Todd Lohstreter filed under