Not conformed but transformed
By: Ysrael De la Cruz
The Bible is the word of God; God uses it to transform us into the people he wants us to be. Jesus prayed that his people be set apart by his truth. John 17:17 (Sanctify them by the truth, your word is truth)
2 Tim.3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the people of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
For Christians to experience growth and transformation in their lives; they must not lose the hunger for God’s word. As baby craves for milk, we must long for the Bible so we can truly grow.
“If we are going to grow into Christ-likeness through the exposure of God’s word, one of the things we must do is develop Bible-based convictions. (a conviction is a determinative belief: something you believe so strongly that it affects the way you live.” (Jerry Bridges, Growing your faith)
The problem we face in our society; the problem with many Christians is lack of biblical conviction. We cannot develop Bible-based convictions if we don’t know the Bible. As followers of Jesus, our beliefs must come from the Bible, our convictions must be biblically based.
Our beliefs and values come from: Family, society, culture, philosophy, religion, the Bible, etc.
Paul began by urging the Christians to offer their bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is truly our act of worship. Paul is calling the believers to sacrifice themselves to God. Not as the sacrifices offered on the altar, but as living sacrifices. Sacrifice: “anything consecrated and offered to God.” As believers, how do we consecrate and offer ourselves to God as a living sacrifice?
Then Paul urged the Christians not to conform to the ideologies of society.
Paul is talking about the ways of this world to which Christ’s followers are not to adapt or conform. God has given a pattern (design) for his people.
Verse 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world. Rather, be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
The word conform 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.
Do not be fashioned by the ways of the world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.
Transformation begins by changing the way you think. Sometimes, we may wonder why it may take long to reach certain goals. We may wonder why it takes long to experience transformation in our lives, the answer to such transformation may lie in the way we think. Change the way you think and then you will experience transformation. But this is not easy to do because We have a sin problem that affects our mind. The mind is the battlefield where we fight our battles. So if we can embrace a different perspective, a renewing of the way we think, then we will experience transformation.
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 who you are is linked to how you think.
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. It is very complex. We allow God to work in our lives, but sometimes we allow Satan to have a field day with us. 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 governed by what we think, our reasoning. The good things we do and the bad things we do begin with our thinking. Satan planted a seed of doubt 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 an idea in Peter’s mind. 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. Matt. 16:23 You are not thinking Godly right now.
The foundation of all transformation, character and conduct is laid deep in a changed mind. A changed mind is essential to truly understand 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.
How often we fail to know God’s will in our lives or in a given situation because we still think with our own perspective and not God’s perspective. How would you know what is good and pleasing and acceptable to God? He reveals his will in the written word, the Bible.
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 (frame) of the Christian. We are to be squeezed in Christ.
Christ’s mold or frame is found in the Bible. This is where we find God’s perspective.
If your beliefs and convictions are not Bible-based it will be easy for you to follow the ways of the world. Our thinking must reflect Christ.
Be transformed by the renewal of your mind (by changing the way you think)
Without changing our mind there is not transformation; we must let God renew our minds so we can reflect Jesus in the way we think. The more we let God’s word dwell in our minds the more transformation we will experience; the more our thinking would reflect Christ.
We will never be transformed neglecting his instruction given in the Bible. We will always be lost in this world, without a sense of meaning and direction if we don’t follow this GPS.
God is calling us not to conform to the world, but to be transformed by changing the way we think. Our reasoning and thinking must reflect Jesus in this world.