Daily Archives: November 2, 2011

Patterns versus Transformation

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.  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 12:1&2

St Martin-in-the-Fields

There are passages in Scripture that mesmerise me. Romans 12: 1&2 is such a passage. It speaks of the radical (from the root up) difference of the genuinely Christian worldview in contrast to the patterns and habits formed in and by the world. A while back I wrote about God’s Audit. This time I want consider just one phrase.

The phrase that stands out more than the others for me is “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The reason this challenges me is that too often I see the “patterns” rather than the “transformation” in my own life. I see values and attitudes that are not that much different from the world around me, rather than the traits of Jesus.

How does this renewing of the mind take place? What is this renewal?

Sanctification describes the work of the Holy Spirit as God slowly shapes and moulds us into the people He already sees us as, in Christ. Through His Word, Spirit, life experiences, the church and a myriad of other ways God teaches and leads us in His ways. This shaping is a life long process; this shaping is the “transformation” being written about by Paul. It is a heart and mind that seeks more of God and less of themselves. It makes sense that if that is the way we are growing in God, His will then becomes more obvious as we mature and and develop in Him.

There is a responsibility we have and that is to be open and available to that work of God. It nearly sounds cliched but we do need to explore His Word, we ought to be passionate about prayer, our hearts should be open to the leading and nudges of the Holy Spirit and we should be humble enough to accept correction, advice and teaching from those who are mature and firm in their faith. This is all part of the transformative process.

The exciting promise in this verse is the last phrase. The more we are transformed, then the more we are drawn into, and led by, the will of God. The strong implication being, the more we will see Christlikeness in our lives and less of our old selves.

Paul continues in Romans 12 to show what this life looks like. It is a life of grace, sacrifice, blessing, service and forgiveness. Now when the world sees me, if  I am to be effective for God, they need to see Christ, not just someone else who looks like them.

Categories: christian, Christianity, Devotional, Faith, Romans | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Tasmania – Beauty and Retreat


One of my favorite places in the world to visit and revisit is Tasmania. It isn’t just that we lived there for three years many years ago that pulls us back. There is something unique about the island that makes each return a special treat.

Cataract Gorge in Flood

It is hard to put your finger on the magical quality it has. In one sense it is just like most other western societies with consumerism and supermarkets, graffiti and all the usual social problems. In that regard it is not that much different from home. Yet, at another level, its separation from the rest of the  Australian rat race, its many places of retreat, its huge variety of scenery all within easy driving distance, makes it very appealing. If you are an elderly couple or a thrill seeker there is space and there are places for you.

Because I love European history, it is that aspect of Tasmania that appeals to me

Richmond Bridge

most. The early European settlements, the connections with Convict History, the visual reminders of the past are all present and accessible. The bridges at Richmond and Ross are worth the trip alone.

And then there is the stunning visual beauty from rugged mountains, spectacular waterfalls to the secluded inlets and coves. Being campers we have often stayed in places that would other wise be impossible. There was a night in the Tahune State Forest, another near Hell’s Gates on the west coast that are etched in my memory. And pitching a tent on the Freycinet Peninsula is obligatory.

Cradle Mountain

The aspect of Tasmania that thrills me most is that it refreshes my faith in the creator God. It reminds me that this place wasn’t an accident or a freak offshoot of chance but an glimpse of an intentional God who has a sense of beauty and magnificence. Tassie is a reminder that I need to keep my eyes and heart open for glimpses of God, not just in places, but in people and circumstances. God refreshes our soul through his Word and Spirit but there are times when He does it through what he has made.

The Infamous Port Arthur

Categories: christian, Devotional, History, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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