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.
If we are to offer ourselves to God as living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1), we have a crucial role to play. We must choose to say “No” to the ways of the fallen world.
But that’s not the whole story. You will be able to discern and do God’s will only when you “let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” The original Greek calls us to “be transformed,” not by our own efforts, but by the power of God.
The verb meaning “be transformed” utilizes a Greek mood that conveys an ongoing process. Transformation doesn’t happen automatically, once-and-for-all, when we first put our faith in Christ. Rather, it is a life-long process of opening ourselves to God’s renewing power.
Notice that God transforms you by “changing the way you think.” This renewed mind comes as you allow Scripture to teach you God’s truth. It comes as you reflect upon the Bible, using it as the basis for your daily prayers. A new mind comes when you gather with other believers to study the Word, to hear it proclaimed, and to experience it in the sacraments. Though we cannot transform ourselves, we can participate in that which opens our minds to the Spirit. As this happens, we will be able to know God’s will so that we might desire it and do it.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How has God transformed you by changing the way you think? What activities of your life help you to be available to God’s ongoing renewal?
PRAYER: O Lord, I can see evidence of your transformation in my life, and for this I give you thanks and praise. But I am so aware of how much more transformation is needed. I confess how much I still think as the world thinks, valuing that which really doesn’t matter and devaluing that which does matter. Forgive me, Lord, for my worldly ways of thinking.
By your Word and the power of your Spirit, I ask that you will continue to transform me. Give me a new mind, Lord, the mind of Christ! May I think your thoughts after you. May my heart beat in sync with yours.
Help me, gracious God, to know your will, to desire what you desire, and to do it with gusto. May I offer my whole self to you each day as a living sacrifice! I pray in the name of Jesus, who makes this possible. Amen.
P.S. from Mark
During the last few weeks of the summer, I take a break from writing new reflections. We’ll be sending out reflections I wrote a couple of years ago on Paul’s letter to the Romans. I pray that God uses these to deepen your relationship with him and to strengthen your faithfulness as his disciple. We’ll be sending out new reflections beginning on Tuesday, September 4.