“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Romans 12:2, ESV
Most of us remember the moment we invited Jesus to commune with us. We can describe the landscape, the atmosphere, the people around, maybe even smells and sounds. It’s such a sweet and intimate moment. At that very second, we are determined that our lives will drastically change. We will give up all for the One who gave up His life.
And we do, for awhile. And then slowly we drift back into some of our old habits. There are a few out there who this may not apply to, but there are others who will find a lot of familiarity in these words.
Our hearts start to become inward focused and we start to lose sight of who we serve.
The world is incredibly saturated by any distraction known to man, and the enemy knows our weaknesses. But there is One who knows us because He created us.
Romans 12:2 is a rich verse. In the very beginning it commands us to not be conformed by the world. In other words, don’t let the world shape who you are as a person. These are important words because the world is not Christ-centered and therefore should not be our source. The same sentence goes on to say that instead we should be transformed by the renewal of your mind. How does that work?
It’s really hard to get to know someone if you spend little time with them. You may think you know someone if you see them a lot, but knowing someone deeply takes time and commitment. It’s also hard to get to know someone if you don’t open up.
God is the same way. We expect so much from Him, we demand things left and right and accuse God of not listening when we feel He hasn’t come through. But the reality is if God never did anything for us ever again, we should be in complete awe and surrender, because of the immense love He has graced upon us through the sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ.
And call me crazy, but it’s really hard to demand something from someone you don’t really know. This is where all arguments will ensue. “I know God, I pray and read my Bible every day. I mean most days. I mean I look at an app for a couple minutes a day, when I remember.”
Don’t worry, we all make these excuses. We try and give reasons why we don’t get to really know our Father. But, if we were really serious about transforming our minds, our hearts would begin to shift from us to others. Our times with our Savior would be filled with pages and pages of what He’s doing in our lives.
When we get close to Jesus, when we devote time to spend with Him, we don’t just check something off of our checklist, we start to feel His love and presence. And then, in a blink of an eye, we start to hear His voice. It’s probably not going to be an audible thing (but if it is, that is AWESOME). When we hear His voice, He will tell us how much we are loved, and wanted, and treasured. But this will not happen if we conform to this world.
When we intimately get to know Jesus other things happen as well. The verse goes on to say “that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
It’s hard to know the will of God without knowing God. This is key, so I’m going to say it again. It’s hard to know the will of God without knowing God.
I’m going to ask a hard question, one that even makes me a little uncomfortable. Do you know Him? Do you really know Him? Are you seeking Him with your whole heart, or with the leftovers? Was there a time when you knew Him well and heard His voice?
I challenge you to take some time and grab your Bible and a notebook (and a pen), and find a quiet place and spend some time with God. It doesn’t have to be an hour, but it does have to be whole-hearted. Ask God for just a glimpse of Him, and tell Him how you feel. Be honest. Are you angry with Him? Are you struggling in a certain area? Are you ashamed? Do you feel unloved? Do you not know your purpose? All of these things He will address. But it’s hard to grow in Christ, when you don’t really know Christ.
I want to leave you with this: When the love of God is poured into you, you can pour into others. It’s hard to help others when you’re empty. And it’s hard to serve and grow when you’re not continually transforming your mind. So tackle the tough questions, pursue God daily, and allow your mind to be transformed.
Devo written by Lauren Williams. Graphic designed by Heather Christy.