Do not conform. Be transformed.

Romans 12:2

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.

As I read this verse recently, God spoke truth I had never seen before as I read this verse. As a Sunday school teacher, I often break down a verse and define key words in order to have a better understanding of what God is trying to teach us through His Word.

The word CONFORMED means to behave according to socially acceptable convention or standards; to make or become similar in character or form

The next key word is TRANSFORMED, which means to have a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.

And the last key word is RENEWING, which is pretty easy to figure out, it means to make new or as if new again. To take up again, or to start again.

If we then re-write the verse using these definitions, we would see it in a new light.

And do not behave according to the socially acceptable standards of this world, but have a thorough and dramatic change in appearance by everyday making new again your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

One truth that comes to light regarding this verse. We are ALL either CONFORMING or TRANSFORMING.

There is no way around it, you are doing one or the other. Either you are choosing what the world has to offer by conforming your life to the world’s standards OR you are choosing to allow the Spirit of God in you to transform you daily to look more and more like Christ.

Conforming happens naturally with our human nature. Transforming happens only through salvation.

However, somehow we make salvation and walking with God about us. We forget to be stunned by the glory of God. We forget about His mercy and grace in our lives.  We let our human side that desires to be highly esteemed, to be noticed, to be recognized for our efforts to be Christ-like raise itself to a high place and make this whole walking with God things about us. What we say, what we do, what we sacrifice. Here’s the thing.  It’s not about us!  It’s not about our efforts.  It’s not about our story.  It’s about God.  It’s about what Jesus did on the cross for us.  It’s about an incredibly unfathomable love for us.  It’s about a sacrifice bigger than anything we think we could ever sacrifice in walking with Him.  It’s about grace.

So what does this all mean?  It’s about TRANSFORMATION. It means every day you wake up after salvation, you die to self.  Every day you wake up and you think about what Christ did for you and you are thankful.  Every day you wake up, you are amazed that despite your tendencies to think only about yourself, despite your tendencies to want to do the things you want to do, despite your tendencies to want to conform to the standards of this world, this God who created the heavens and the earth, this God who is bigger than we can even comprehend, this God who loves us so much that He made a way for us to be able to still be with Him for eternity, He also wants to spend time with us every day. Go figure! He wants to do great things in us and through us.  Crazy, right?   It means you wake up every day and surrender your own will to His and allow Him to do the things in you and through you that He desires. It means you let Him change your attitude.  You let Him change your actions.  You let him change your thoughts. You let Him change your hopes and dreams.  You let Him transform you.

How does that happen?  Well, that’s the renewing part.   Begin every day with God.  Begin every day in conversation with Him.  Ask Him to change your heart.  Ask Him to create in you a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within you.  Ask Him what He would have you do that day.  Surrender your will to His.

The last thing I want to share with you is something I learned when I meditated on this verse this last week.  As I read over it again and again…. I noticed something I had not seen before.

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. 

As a Sunday school teacher, as a mom, and as a friend, I’ve been asked this question more times than I can count “How can I know the will of God for my life?” I usually answer “God will show you what His will is”, which is true. But when I read this verse again, the word “that” stood out. That word “that” was kind of like a neon sign for me. To me this verse is saying “If I am not conformed to this world, if I refuse to take on the mindset of this world, if I choose to walk contrary to what the world says is right, and I allow myself to be transformed to look more like Jesus every day, if I allow Him to change things in me that need to be changed, if I love the things of God more than I love the things in the world, if I choose to be renewed every day. If I choose to be undone by the knowledge of who God is and who I am to Him, THEN I may prove or I can know the truth about what the good and acceptable and perfect will of God is for my life.

There’s our answer? Do you want to know what God’s will is for your life? It begins with SALVATION. Then it begins everyday with being transformed by the renewing of your mind.

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