By Brooke Holt
“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 12:2
Yesterday we focused on the call not to conform to this world. I provided the example of my mother warning me to make wise choices in friends, since I would become like the people with whom I spent the most time. This comprises the first part of Paul’s instruction which he followed with another very important component. Christians are not to be conformed to the world but to be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit and by the renewal of their minds.
Adam Ant released a song in 1982 called “Goody Two Shoes”. Crazily enough, the lyrics remain in my memory today: “Don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do you do?” The song questions why anyone would live differently than he did. Why would anyone not enjoy drinking and smoking? He could only label that person a “Goody Two Shoes” as he had no other explanation, and he wanted no part of it. He did not want anyone to tell him what to do. It simply made no sense to him.
The “Goody Two Shoes” symbolizes a person who does not conform to the world around him/her, but Paul is looking for much more than just not conforming. Paul says to be “transformed”. Transformation differs from conformation as it goes beyond the external and into the internal. How is anyone transformed? Paul answers that question: “by the renewal of your mind”.
So how do you renew your mind? In his sermon entitled “The Renewed Mind and How to Have it”, John Piper says, “Transformation is a profound, blood-bought, Spirit-wrought change from the inside out.” This seems to be good news and bad news. You cannot renew your own mind or the mind of your spouse or child! That job belongs to the Holy Spirit. What you can do is cooperate with the Holy Spirit and intentionally seek the Lord.
To have your mind renewed means you must keep your eyes on Jesus. It is a discipline to not read the news or social media and to read the Scriptures instead. It takes intentionality and focus to pray. Many times, renewal of the mind calls for self-denial. It means sacrificing the golf game, the fishing trip, or the Pickleball court so you can spend time with God and be present in church each week. It is training your heart, mind, and Spirit to prioritize God above everything else in this world.
You seek the Lord, focus on his glory, and then allow the Holy Spirit to do the renewing. Renewal and transformation are a glorious and mighty work within you. Ask the Lord to do this holy work today!
Are you intentional in seeking the Lord each day and allowing the Spirit to renew your mind? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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