2Do 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, NIV
Today’s scripture is one very near and dear to my heart. I first encountered it as a child when I attended a summer session at Kids Across America, a Christian sports camp geared towards urban youth. The theme for that summer was Transformers, and Romans 12:2 was our focus verse. The call to be transformed for God resonated strongly in me and has followed me all the way from childhood.
I realized that summer that as one who claimed to loved God, I had to be less like the world and more like God, but, that was easier said than done. Time and again I vowed to become new and start over, yet I slipped back into my old sinful ways. I had the desire to be transformed but lacked the know-how.
The key to a successful transformation lies in what follows:
“the renewing of your mind”
Romans is a letter written from Paul to the church at Rome in which he explains God’s plan of salvation for ALL peoples, Jews and Gentiles alike. Once Paul explains the way to salvation through faith in Christ, he implores all Christians to live sanctified lives for God.
We know that once we receive salvation in Christ we are made new and set apart for God. This is the inward sanctification that comes from God, but there must also be an outward expression of our internal transformation. The first step to practical sanctification is the changing of one’s internal software, the renewal of the mind. The mind has to be changed to think like God. This can only happen when we dump out the filth of the world and fill our minds with the Word of God. The more we read our Bibles, the more we reprogram our minds to think like God. The more we immerse ourselves in the Word of God, the more we will be able to discern what the Will of God is in every situation. The more rooted we are in the Word, the better equipped we are to dismantle false truths and dismiss false prophets. When we become drenched in the Word, we become filled with love for the Word and it becomes good, pleasing and perfect to us. When we find love for the Word of God, we find the ability to reject sin and follow God gladly.
“In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome” – 1 John 5:3, NIV
Now, this is a process and not an immediate transformation. We will falter and perfection will never be achieved on this side of heaven. Remember that from our very beginnings, we were “born in sin and shaped in iniquity” (Psalm 51:5, paraphrased). That means that we were born in filth and grew up learning how to be filthy. Just like it took time to learn the wrong way, it is going to take time to learn the right way, and it is harder to break a bad habit than it is to start one. But we are not without hope, for “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26, KJV).
In this new year, I have charged myself and all those willing to accept, to make a resolution toward Spiritual growth and development. The renewing of the mind is not only a gradual process, but it must be a continual one as well, and I submit that it must be the first step in attaining Spiritual growth.
In this year, as you begin to tune into God for Spiritual growth, refresh your mind, dump out what you think you know (not forgetting what you’ve already learned), and make room for God to speak to you in a new way.