“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2a NIV) It seems to me like the “pattern of this world” keeps getting more twisted and gnarled with time.
The Apostle Paul was clear in his teaching: (1) There IS a pattern to this world, and (2) in our humanness, we tend to conform to it, even as believers. In the name of Jesus, we sometimes accommodate when we shouldn’t. We adjust. We adapt. And if Christians aren’t careful, we end up justifying our tolerance of this world’s wrongdoings. As children and followers of Jesus Christ, this should not be. God is seeking world game changers and we are called to conform to HIS divine pattern of living, a way that points others to Christ Himself.
What exactly is “the pattern of this world”? Priorities out of order; self-promotion, and self-seeking focus to push ahead of others; an underlying sense of entitlement; money and career driven; over-scheduled individuals and families to the point of minimal recovery, rest, and restoration; family dynamics struggling as homes are broken by divorce; pent-up anger expressed in unhealthy ways; the list goes on and on.
We are called to NOT follow the worldly pattern that surrounds us. Better yet, in today’s verse, GOD takes the project of “you and me” onto Himself. He carries the responsibility for changing the way we think. In the NLT, it says… “but LET God transform you…”, indicating the decision falls upon us. Can we release control and allow God to do His beautiful transformative work in and through us? The Holy Spirit literally metamorphoses you and me into the likeness of His son, Jesus Christ. Again, we are NOT responsible for doing the transformative work: God is.
But what can you and I do in the meantime? We can DRAW CLOSE to His heart through daily quiet time, prayer, reflections, and in-depth study of God’s Word. In meekness and humility, we graciously SUBMIT to His divine process. It is God who rejuvenates what is destroyed, redeems what is lost, revitalizes what has died, releases what is held bondage, refreshes what is depressed, and restores you and me to the newness and wholeness only found in His Son.
When we learn to trust our loving God with the transformation process, the influences of this world’s pattern begin to fade. Evidence of God’s work in our lives outshines any negativity, drama, or chaos screaming for attention. Our priorities shift over to God’s priorities. We become other-focused rather than self-focused. We deflate instead of inflating. Honestly, you and I are entitled to nothing, yet gratefully receive everything God has for us. We rebuke Satan’s nothingness and embrace God’s newness.
Jesus was a world game changer: He never followed the pattern of this world. You and I are called to be no different.
Scripture references from NIV unless otherwise noted.
Based on Transformed Christ Followers Impact Their World for Christ on February 2nd, 2019 - Watch Sermon