“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2, NLT).
What does that scripture mean? How is it possible to not “copy the behavior and customs” of the world when it surrounds us and everything we see and do is affected by the world in which we live?
A key to not being so attached to the world that we conform to it in every way is the next phrase: “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”
How can we let God accomplish this? How can our minds be renewed? Paul gives a hint: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5, KJV).
When we receive Jesus in our hearts, He doesn’t want to just be a doorway to heaven at the end of our lives. He wants to renew our minds and recreate us in His image. As we allow him to do so, our minds will be renewed and transformed, and our lives will be completely changed. As such, we will avoid copying the behavior of the world and becoming entangled with the things of the world.
This is what the Lord desires of us: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1, KJV). He wants us to experience the freedom that comes through knowing Him and patterning our lives after the example He gave us. When we become more like Him, our lives will be purposed to further the kingdom of God.
This means something different for each person. When Jesus was on earth, not every individual who believed in Him became a full-time disciple. Joseph of Arimathea believed in Him, but the part he played (providing the tomb for Jesus’ body) was very different from the part Mary Magdalene played, whose calling to follow Him was very different from that of the 12 disciples.
You have a unique calling from God, a purpose that only you can fill. How can you learn to know and understand that purpose, to know “God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect?” You know it by allowing your mind to be transformed through the power of Jesus. As you do so, you will come to know His will in your life, and you will have the strength to follow it.
This is how you keep free from being entangled with the things of the world, even though you are in the world. This is how you become established in the Kingdom and help others to do the same. This is how you fulfill your God-given purpose.
Question . . . how are you doing? Do you find yourself caught up in the trappings of the world? Do you feel like you have to fight off the easy outs that the world-system offers? Believe me, you are not alone. We are called to be very intentional as we open our hearts to the comfort, understanding and direction our Lord generously provides. And then we can be intentional about living our lives according to God’s ways . . . and discover and live in the peace and rest only He can provide.