Changed, Not Conformed
In Romans 12, there’s this beautiful passage where Paul is speaking to the church in Rome. The first verse says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1.
What a beautiful verse. It makes me want to offer everything, every ounce of my being, to God’s kingdom and ways. So, it seems strange when Paul continues, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world…” Romans 12:2.
Apparently, Paul knew that when we try to live right the devil is going to do everything he can to sway us from that true and proper worship.
In verse two, Paul tells the church in Rome that if they want to live this kind of life, they have to be the kind of people who resolve not to allow outside pressures to determine who they are.
Sometimes, we don’t even realize we are conforming “to the pattern of this world.” Conforming can happen when we allow outside influences to change our inside focus. When we allow outside voices, outside perspectives and outside thoughts to change our inside view of ourselves, our identity and what we believe to be true.
Take a moment to ask yourself: How did you allow outside voices and pressures to change you in 2022? Did you find yourself creating unhealthy patterns that were truly destructive to whom God intended you to be?
Can you relate to being in environments that dictate what we think and what we feel to be true about ourselves? We adapt. We keep it safe. We hide. We play. We earn. And all we’re trying to do is find our identity in everything else.
Paul would say this is not worship. You can’t offer everything in a way that’s holy and pleasing to God if you are being influenced by your environment. That is going backwards.
Every day, especially every new year, you have the choice. You can keep the same patterns going or you can create a new story and have a fresh start.
Paul strongly encourages us to offer everything to God. That requires us to be aware of our patterns of brokenness. We must resolve to make the decision to no longer conform to those lies but focus on the bigger picture.
Our earthly home is only temporary. “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20.
Paul understood where his citizenship was held. He stood for every value that is represented by Jesus: love, radical grace, incredible hospitality and unbelievable generosity.
Paul knew there would be challenges but trusted in God’s will. “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.” Romans 12:2.
We have that opportunity today; to be transformed, to give God the battle in our minds,to change into something entirely new. When we allow God’s will in our lives and trust that He knows best, He will help us become the fabulous people God intended for us to be sharing His love with those around us.
By Elton DeMoraes, D.Min.