…But be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Have you heard that bit from Romans 12? I keep getting routed back to Romans 12 over, and over, and over. For whatever reason, my study, my digging, my delving, all keep ending with Romans 12 or passing through it to get elsewhere. Should I be paying attention to that? I reckon so. 😉 And I really get hung up specifically upon Romans 12:2.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.Romans 12:2 (NASB)
What the heck does the ‘renewing’ of one’s mind look like? I believe it means we’re bound to THINK. Not feel, mind you. Jesus teaches in parables for good reason. It appears as if He is saying, “here is an example, now go think on it,” each time he offers a parable in response to a question. If you feel your way through life, you place yourself at risk. Sure, feelings are part of life and very important, but they often lead us astray.
“Well, Michael, I have moral feelings, so they’ll suffice, will they not?” No, actually even moral feelings tend to get us in trouble if relied upon solely for decision making and deciphering. Moral feelings stem from the Latin, “conscientia” or conscious. Moral thoughts stem from the Latin, “synderesis” or scholastic philosophy. The synderesis, or thoughts, were understood by the ancient world to be nearly 100% fail-safe, whereas the conscientia, or feelings, were almost 100% failure oriented. This naturally leads us to the question:
Have we become a world that feels or a world that thinks???
Try this exerpt from Dr. J. Vernon McGee’s sermon on for size:
What a thought! We’re called to think and deny our desire to do what the ‘world’ does. And do we have a lot of “world” influences? Yes… And will this departure from the “world” have repercussions for us? Yup. Some of them, in fact many, you might not like. When you set yourself apart things take a different shape. You’ll fall into one of three camps at some point, usually soon.
Camp One, you’ll be around your friends, just as you have always been, and when you’re with them you’ll behave like them. You’ll act, and think, and talk, as the world does. Camp Two, you’ll carry yourself in Christ-like ways with your friends, and they’ll reject you in one way or another. Camp Three, you’ll do neither and avoid your friends, so that you’ll be able to avoid Camps One and Two entirely.
Do any of those Camps work? Well, only Camp Two if you wish to be more than just a believer. If you’re going to Disciple, then that’s a higher ladder rung than simply that of a believer. And you’re going to have to be willing to take some hits for Him. But here’s the upshot… Your friends may never be given an example of this if you don’t do it. You might be the person who plants that seed. Or, maybe, someone else did it, and you’ll prove to be the person who watered the seed or provided light for it to grow. You never know. But one thing is for certain. You WILL NEVER become a catalyst for Christ if you don’t start. This might be Camp Two, a stranger in the supermarket, a newcomer to church, or a person you’ll never meet or shake hands with that read your blog. It requires us to think, to deny the world, and place ourselves firmly outside our comfort zone.
All the while He has our back. Take comfort in that my friends. I pray you become both, salt and light.