At the beginning of the year you get to see lots of resources on the web in how to be a better person; people pledge themselves to obtain certain goals in life and so forth. You are probably familiar with the book “Become a better you” by Joel Osteen. His book and many other books have great advice for people whether you are Christian or not. Things like don’t worry, be kind to yourself and others, set goals, forgive those who offended you; always love people more than things, work diligently, etc. However, why is it so hard to implement these things in our lives? For example, think about why is it so hard to love people more than things, why is it so hard not to worry or move forward in life? As believers, why is it so hard to trust God? Why does it seem that you are not progressing or growing spiritually?
These things are great if you do them, but you can’t do them until you change the way you think.
The apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church in Rome and after a beautiful doxology Rom.11:33-36) he went on to encourage the Christians to live for God.
Therefore (so, for what I told you before….thus) I urge you brothers by the mercies of God to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.
Living sacrifices? Sacrifices in the Jewish culture were always dead, the animal needed to be holy, without blemish in order to be accepted by God. The Christian sacrifice also has to be holy and pure in God’s sight, otherwise, it cannot be accepted. For us Christians, the greatest act of worship is to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God. To present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This carry the idea of surrendering your body, yourself to God. This is truly your spiritual act of worship. The problem with living sacrifices is that they want to jump off the altar.
Verse 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world. Rather, be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
The word conformed is the word for fashion, form or mold. Do not be molded or fashioned by the ways of this world (Do not let the world squeeze you into its mold-The Message).
Be transformed (the word here is metamorfos) from where we get our English word metamorphosis.
Transformation begins by changing the way you think. When I asked the question before, why is it so hard for people to forgive, to stick to their goals, to even trust God, to live as living sacrifices for God? Because transformation hasn’t taken place yet in those areas. They have a mind problem. In order for change to take place in our lives, we need first to change the way we think. We need a new perspective.
The mind is the most complex thing we have. Scientists can tell us and decipher the human brain and everyone knows that even the most sophisticated computer created is like a tinker toy compared to our human brain. But no one can understand the mind; it is complex, you cannot x-ray it.
Rene Decarte said. I think, therefore I am. His point was that consciousness is the only sure evidence that we actually exist.
The mind is an intensely private part of every person. No one but you have access to your mind. No one else can know your mind unless you choose to share the thoughts. (God and you only)
The mind is synonymous with your thoughts. You can make up your mind, change your mind, you can be out of your mind, or sometimes be double-minded person. In the mind you allow God to work powerful in your life or you allow Satan to have a field day with you. All this happens first in the mind.
The first commandment calls us to love God with all our heart, soul and mind. How do I even do this? What does it mean to love God with my mind?
The mind determines how we act and the things we do in life.
Gandhi: Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values…”
Whatever we do is determined by what we think, our reasoning. The good things we do and the bad things we do begin with our thinking. Satan planted a thought in Eve, then she thought about it; the reasoning behind was, we could be like God. Our mind is a war zone and the enemy will hit us here first with jealousy, discontentment, anxiety, unforgiving attitudes, self-centeredness, etc. Satan planted a thought in Peter after Peter heard Jesus’ explanation about his death. “This should never happen to you.” Jesus said to Peter get behind me Satan because right now you are not thinking the things of God, but of men. Right now you don’t have God’s perspective, but yours. There are Christians who have created their own theology or beliefs to justify their actions. Satan is winning the battle in their mind.
The foundation of all transformation of character and conduct is laid deep in a renewed mind.
A renewed mind is essential to truly have a practical discernment of the will of God. Then you will be able to approve (test, examine, explore) God’s course of action, his purpose, his will in your life.
We are not to be molded or conformed to the ways of this world. God has given us a different perspective in Christ Jesus. Rom.8:29 For those he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
Jesus is the mold, pattern of the Christian. We are to be squeezed in Christ.
We are told to set our thinking on the eternal and not on the temporal. To walk by faith and not by what we see. Col.3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
We are to be molded by Jesus’ thinking, his perspective. Then we will truly become “living sacrifices” for him on this earth. Our standard has already been given. When we embrace Christ’s pattern, we look at ourselves the way God looks at us (then you can say good bye low self-esteem), we look at the world though Jesus’s eyes; we look at every situation through the eyes of faith, then we won’t be afraid. Then we will truly know what transformation is all about. Others will see it in you; Christ will be that evident in you because he is the one governing your life, your thoughts. People will then say, man, you have changed, what is it about you now?
Imagine what our lives could be like, if we just let Jesus live in us, through us; we let him love, serve and even think through us. Then we will discover what it means to be a new creation in Christ.