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
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.