Summary: How Should We Avoid Being Conformed to the Pattern of This World? (Rom. 12:2)
How Should We Avoid Being Conformed to the Pattern of This World? (Rom. 12:2)
There is always a danger of giving in to the temptations of the world to just feel like being “normal” in our modern society. Today it is easier to try to fit in, blend in and give in to the popular trends in the world rather than to live by Biblical principles.
Quote: Tim LaHaye in His book, The Battle for the Mind writes, “Humanism assumes that man is innately good and capable of solving his problems independently of any Supreme being” (80). “Today’s philosophy of education is obsessed with self-actualization, self-image, self-love, self-sufficiency, self-esteem, self-satisfaction-self, self, self” (80).
Paul the apostle also knew that the Roman world with its human centered -unspiritual, godless and idolatrous thinking would surely lead to self-destruction. The great apostle might have reflected on what David wrote in Psalms 1:1-3 which said,
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and who leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”
We are faced with a choice today. We can either decide to give in to the patterns of self-indulgence, carnality and selfishness or we choose to prosper by obeying God’s word allowing it to help us grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Pet 3:18)
Therefore, Paul urges his readers to not only avoid conforming to the world with all of its pleasure seeking motivations and concentrate on being transformed by the renewing of one’s thinking. Let us examine some of the ways that we can appropriate the absolute truths found in this passage.
1. Paul teaches us that every moment we have to choose between conforming to the world or being transformed by Spirit led thinking. In order to be renewed it is necessary to choose to replace worry with faith; suspicion with trust and sorrow with joy. Paul wrote, “Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil. 4:6)
By disciplining ourselves for the purpose of godliness we can put off our old selfish desires and replace them with attitude of righteousness, holiness and truth. Paul knew that we need to discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness but gained great motivation from the fact that godliness is profitable for all things not only in this life but also in the age to come. (I Tim. 4:7,8)
Illustration; When I first became a Christian I learned through the Navigators how essential scripture memory was for replacing my old thought patterns with God’s word. It helped my mind take a shower on a moment by moment basis as I let the waters of God’s word cleanse me from self-destructive attitudes. At the same time God’s word helped carve new impressions in my thought processes. It was if the word of God carved permanent patterns of thinking, feeling and perceiving in the rock formations in my mind. I learned how the Holy Spirit transformed my reactions to negative situations through the sanctifying power of the word of God. Nothing comes close to the power of meditating on God’s word to give you success in refusing to conform to the world by initiating a plan of being spiritually transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Try memorizing and meditating on at least one new verse every morning and watch how God will renew, refresh and refine your outlook on everything.
2. Paul teaches us that the best way to avoid conforming to the world is to pro-actively be transformed in your perspectives. Changing our perspectives is best done by developing goals to be more like Christ while engaging in service for His kingdom’s priority purposes.
The problem that most people have in conforming to this world is that they fail to take initiative in transformation and incarnation, but simply react to whatever problem comes along.
Jesus gives us a great example of one who started off each day by initiating spiritual renewal. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
Jesus knew that whatever He thought about first thing in the morning would set the pattern for his thinking the rest of the day. Why not commit yourself to spending at least the first fifteen minutes of every morning praying and reading God’s word. Commit your ways to the Lord and He will then direct and prosper your paths. To do otherwise is to wait for the pressures, problems and perceptions of the world to press you into its mold.