“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”— Romans 12:2
In Romans 12:1 Paul transitions from doctrinal exposition to practical prescriptions. Over the past few days we have looked at what it means to present ourselves as sacrifices to God. The type of bodily sacrifice we are offering is distinct to our faith only. Many people worship their bodies. I heard a speaker give a devotional lesson one day on Psalm 139:14, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Instead of doing what the verse said to do and praise God, the speaker focused on how wonderful SHE was. But the emphasis of the verse should be on how wonderful THE LORD is in His creative power! There are many people like this speaker who sacrifice their bodies to beauty and strength. Others abuse their bodies, treating them as evil in hopes that they can attain unto righteousness by their own efforts. We on the other hand sanctify our bodies. Sanctify means to set apart. Yes, it takes effort on our part to subdue our flesh and modify our habits, but the emphasis is on giving up our desires IN ORDER TO to accept HIS desires and allow HIM to change us. OUR righteousnesses are as FILTHY RAGS! We are to clean up our lives to make room for HIS righteousness. We should empty out and sanctify every little corner and closet of our hearts for the complete use of the Holy Spirit.
This sacrifice is the foundation for our TRANSFORMATION. Here we are not talking about the new birth one experiences at salvation. We are talking about the transformation of a Born-Again Child of God from a state of defeat to a state of victory and a life lacking in power to spiritual maturity. There are many Born-Again Believers who are not rising to their potential in the plan of God. WE NEED THIS TRANSFORMATION TO TAKE PLACE! Let’s rise to our potential in the plan of God!
Who wants to know the will of God? Every Child of God should cry out, ” I DO!” Well Paul says we can prove the will of God. This means to test, examine, and try. This verse tells us what we must do to both make sure we are in the will of God and to trust in His plan.
We will start today with the first point in this verse.
Be Not Conformed to This World
The word conformed means to fashion after. Imagine you are making Christmas cookies from scratch. You mix the ingredients together and roll out the dough. You then take a cookie cutter that’s shaped like a Christmas tree and press the cutter down upon the dough. Does it stop there? No. You must now peel away the dough from around the edges of the cookie cutter. You now have an unbaked piece of dough that has been conformed to the shape of a Christmas tree. You have not only molded the dough to a specified shape, you have removed everything not conforming to the shape. This world is a giant, sinful, depraved mold. Not only does the world want to us to be conformed to its shape, our own sinful nature wants to conform to it as well. To make matters worse, our flesh and this world wants to strip us away from spiritual things. I’ve seen over and over, one by one, young people raised in godly households and attending sound churches conform to the world’s mold. VERY FEW young people resist this conformation. Many of them think they are showing their independence and uniqueness, but they are conforming to the same exact worldly cookie cutter used on so many others. It sometimes takes just one or two young people in a youth group to stand up to this mold and determine that they will put God first. It is a lot easier to do when you have seen someone else do it.
Who do we conform ourselves to? I believe we spend too much of our time comparing ourselves to others. I’ve heard Born-Again Believers make comments like, “well, so-and-so struggles with such-and-such which is a lot worse than what I struggle with…” We aren’t to compare ourselves to them! We are to conform to the mold of one Person, Jesus Christ. When we examine ourselves in the light of His testimony, we will ALWAYS find we can do better.
Let me give you this thought: We have been made in HIS image. Did you catch that? We were created in the image of God! We were DESIGNED to conform to HIS image. It’s our sinful nature trying to prohibit us from conforming. It is for this reason Paul begins this idea by emphasizing the need to sacrifice our BODIES – our mind, will, emotions, and flesh – for the use of our Lord.
You have been MADE in His image. Are you LIVING in His image?
Will you step up to your calling? Will you conform to the image of God’s precious son, entirely unwilling to conform to this passing world?