We all know we are called to be different people than we were in the past. We know we have moved from death into life. We also know we are new creatures, and we are to be conformed to the image of Christ.
That’s what we know. How do we live that way?
Paul gave a prescription: having considered what Christ did for us, let us refuse to be conformed to the world’s mold and let us experience fundamental change by the renewing of our minds. “I appeal to you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2).
What did Paul mean by the renewing of the mind?
First, Paul saw the mind as the seat of the will, intellect, and emotions. The renewal of the mind to the will and purpose of God will bring about transformed lives. For a fuller understanding the importance of the mind, please see Why You “Must” Renew Your Mind as well as Part Two.
Second, only a renewed mind can discern, appreciate, and determine to obey God’s will. This is what Paul means by proving what God’s will is. Without the work of God to effect a new way of thinking, we can never receive God’s will.
Third, Paul’s writings indicate a renewed mind came from a combination of the work of the Spirit and the Word of God. We must yield ourselves to God’s Spirit as He searches and tries our hearts. We must seek and study the Word of God to receive the objective revelation of what God wants. Together they bring about fundamental change in our lives.
To sum up: Transformation occurs when our minds are renewed by the Spirit and the Word. Then, we are able to discern God’s will and to desire to live according to His will. This results in an upward spiral which makes us more and more changed into His image.
May it be so in our lives.
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