“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2
Once again I am struck by a word. The word transform. I’m sure you have all seen transformers, these toys that can be a person, a car and a plane. Each time you turn and twist it, something new is created. Well, my curious mind wanted to know what exactly does this word mean. According to Webster, the word transform means to change the appearance of, to challenge the nature of or to challenge the function or condition of. Well as you can imagine as I began to grasp what Paul is saying here, I learned so much. Now with the definition in mind, lets look back at the verse. Paul began by telling us not to conform (act in a similar fashion) to the patterns of this world. Again I had to stop and ask myself what are the patterns of this world. If you go on to read the rest of chapter 12, you will find the instructions on how we are to live. As I looked at these verses I was amazed that the patterns of this world are in fact the opposites of what Paul tells us to do. Let’s take a look.
Patterns of the world: thinking highly of self (v 3) hypocrisy (v 9) lover of the world (v 10-11), complaining, impatient, unfaithful (v 12), greedy (v 13) anger toward those who hurt you (v 14) repaying evil for evil and doing what is right in your own eyes (v 17), unpeaceful (v 18) wanting revenge and wanting to overcome evil with evil (v 19-21).
So we are told, to not act like this world, following these examples. Instead we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Now remember the definition of transformation. Paul then is telling us to go against our natural tendencies and to challenge the condition of, to change the function of our minds. Our natural tendencies and fleshly want to’s will look like the worlds, this is what comes easy. So we must challenge these tendencies, we must change them. But how you may ask, which is a great question. We do this by renewing our minds. Again and again in Scripture we are told things concerning our minds or thinking and I believe it really is a battlefield. Let’s look at a few of these verses.
1. Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5)
2. Set your minds on things above and not on earthly things. ( Col. 3:2)
3. Whatever is right, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think on such things. (Phil. 4:8)
Which brings us to our conclusion. Why is Paul telling us these things, why is this important. Go with me to verse one. That “in view of God‘s mercies we may offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to Him, thus our spiritual act of worship.” Why , so that we may worship the Lord with all we are, even our minds. Doing what Paul says is our spiritual act of worship. By doing this we bring glory and honor to Jesus, which is what it’s all about.
Let us then honor and worship the Lord. For we are told “Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength (Luke 10:27).