August 30, 2021 – Monday
Romans 12:2 NIV
2 Do 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 NKJV
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
This verse drives home for me an online definition I ran across recently, “The opposite of bravery is not cowardice, but conformity.” Clearly, for us as Christians we are to be different from the others in this world. Some translations do not use Do not conform, but instead use verbiage to express the same idea such as be not fashioned according to this world (ASV) or Don’t be like the people of this world (CEV) or Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world (ERV) or Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould (Phillips) or Do not act like the sinful people of the world (NLV) or Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you (TPT).
If we are not to conform to this world or the culture around us, what are we to do? We are to be transformed! If we are not sure what that is all about all we have to do is go to the prior verse, Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Thus, verse two directive in nature on how we are to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. First by not conforming to the world around us, the behavior around us, the ‘acceptable’ sins surrounding us. Instead, we are to be transformed!
How are we to be transformed? The verse says by the renewing of our minds, but how is that to be accomplished? It is certainly not by your own effort as we have seen that fail time after time again and again, but instead by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Even that will not work, at least not until it is take truly to heart whereupon an actual transformation begins. How do we note the transformation in our own individual lives? First when we have admitted we are sinners, repented of our sins, and then turned from a life of sin we begin to see the fruit of our repentance. John the Baptist once confronted some Pharisees and Sadducees as noted in Matthew 3:7-8, But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. His point was they would never admit to any sin or a need to repent, thus there would be no fruit of repentance, no change in behavior, no transformation.
About the transformation, MacLaren wrote, That transformation is no sudden thing, though the revolution which underlies it may be instantaneous. The working out of the new motives, the working in of the new power, is no mere work of a moment. And adds, It is a lifelong task till the lump be leavened. Even more to the point is Ephesians 4:22-24, You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. For more on this, read the rest of chapter 4 and then chapter 5.
At that point we would seek to test and approve what God’s will is or you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God per our two versions of the verse. For clarity I like the NASB which reads, your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect with a note that the word prove may also be discover.
As we put on our new self, we are able to discover what the will of God is in our lives. As we discover His will for our lives we no longer conform to the world around us, instead we conform to His will for us.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Help me to avoid conforming to the world in any way when it takes me away from discovering Your will in my life. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.