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. NIV
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. NLT
Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes. TPT
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. MSGRomans 12:2
I love this verse. Oftentimes I consider the challenge of being transformed. In my mind it goes something like this: I just need to think new thoughts and I will become the person God wants me to be.
I imagine the metamorphosis of the butterfly, becoming a beautiful free-spirit flitting from flower to flower, and flying through the beautiful summer sky. That’s what I want to be.
But am I?
This week I was examining my level of conformity, confronted by some teachings that were shared.
I felt uneasy as I listened. Was I feeling conviction or condemnation?
I don’t know about you, but sometimes it’s hard for me to tell the difference.
God brought Romans 12:2 to mind. I started wondering – what does He mean by conforming, and what is the “pattern” of this world? That’s why I decided to include a few different translations.
I went back to the metaphoric butterfly, imagining my pre-Christ life like the hungry caterpillar, eating its way through life. Then I saw my early Christian life like the protective confines of the chrysalis. I am thankful for the protective parameters of letter-of-the-law structured religion, but my spirit wants to soar in the freedom of God’s love and grace. I don’t want to return to either the hunger of the caterpillar or the confines of the chrysalis.
I’ve learned to keep from judging others, after all everyone is at a different stage in life. I’m not as good when it comes to myself, also because I’ve been at different stages. I’m not always right even when I think I am. But I trust God to continue His work in me.
I still didn’t dissect my questions, but two more scriptures came to mind. One follows the verse above and the other as a bonus.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.Romans 12:21 NIV
Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.Galatians 5:1 MSG
Grace & Peace,
Image from Canva