“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.“ – Vs 2 MSG
This is one of those verses that just about everyone knows or at least has heard on more than a handful of occasions. We’re highly familiar with it, but that doesn’t mean we necessarily live it on in real life. It is a call to be different. It is a command to live a life that is set apart and unique. Paul has just urged us to present our bodies “a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Vs 1). The Message paraphrases his thoughts this way: “Take your everyday, ordinary life–your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life–and place it before God as an offering.” What strikes me is that Paul is talking to a group of believers, not just individuals. He is speaking of the body of Christ. Together, we are to live in such a way that our everyday existence is a holy sacrifice to the Lord. That’s why Paul spends the rest of the chapter talking about using our gifts in the context of the body of Christ. But each of us is to be going through a process of transformation. Instead of conforming, we should be transforming – going through the process of change from the inside out. In other words, to “let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (NLT). In many of the translations of this passage, you will see the phrase, “renewing of your mind.” That word “renewing” can be translated “renovation.” God is out to renovate the way we think, the way we view the world. He is giving us a new perspective on life and how to live in it. We begin seeing things differently. We can suddenly see trials and difficulties as opportunities for God’s power to be revealed and our faith strengthened. We find ourselves “rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation” (Vs 12). The command to “abhor what is evil, cling to what is good” (Vs 9) becomes increasingly more a part of who we are. We stop paying back evil for evil, hating our enemies, and taking revenge. We stop thinking so highly of ourselves and negatively about others. We prefer serving rather than being served. We give more than we receive. We open up our homes and our wallets – willingly and gladly. We find out what our spiritual gifts are and use them to minister to the rest of the body of Christ.
We can do all this because we are being transformed – changed from the inside out – in our hearts, our minds, our attitudes, and ultimately, in our behavior. Our daily lives are a test or living proof of the reality of the life change going on within us. When we do all the things listed above, we give evidence or proof of the transformation that is taking place within us. We are living out in daily life the will of God, “that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Vs 2). God is bringing out the best in us. We are walking testimonials to the amazing grace and power of God as He develops well-formed maturity in each of us. And we prove it all in the context of the body as we live our lives together.
Father, thank You for Your transforming power going on in my life. Thank You that You are changing the way I think. You are using Your Word to alter my mindset and how I view life and the world. You have given me the ability to think and live differently. I pray that you would continue to renovate my thinking to such a degree that the characteristics Paul lists in this chapter would becoming increasingly a normal part of the way I live my life and the way we as Christians live our lives together. All for Your glory. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men