Not Conformed But Transformed

You and I must not be conformed to this world but be transformed.  Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” 

The word “conform” implies fitting into a pattern or mold. Before we became Christians, our natural course of action was to be disobedient to God like everyone else in the world.  Ephesians 2:1-3 “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”   Before we were Christians, we were motivated by the same selfish desires that others of the world had.  Our speech was like others in the world.  Our desires and our actions were like others in the world.  Our friends of the world put peer pressure on us to be just like them.  The way of the world is described in 1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world.”

But when we become a follower of Jesus Christ, we are to be transformed – we are to be changed.  In some people, this transformation is very dramatic.  The drug addict stops using drugs.  The homosexual no longer has relations with someone of the same sex.  The adulterer stops committing adultery.  The liar now only tells the truth.  The transformation is like that of the caterpillar that becomes a butterfly through metamorphosis. In the Bible we have the example of Saul who was persecuting and giving consent to the death of Christians.  When he became a follower of Jesus Christ he stopped his rebellious ways and began preaching the good news about Jesus.  Acts 9:20-21 “Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. Then all who heard were amazed, and said, ‘Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?’”  Saul was transformed; he preached Christ instead of persecuting the Christians.

The change in your life and my life may or may not be as dramatic as the change in Saul who became the Apostle Paul.  Still, the change must be there for all of us.  It is the action of being born again.  Jesus was talking to Nicodemus – John 3:3-8 “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’’”  The transformation is also described as a death and a new life.  Romans 6:1-4 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?  Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Baptism symbolizes the death to the old and the rebirth to a newness of life.

When I hear the word transformed, I think of an electrical transformer.  The electric company sends electricity over high voltage wires because that is the most efficient way to transport electrical power.  But the electricity in high voltage wires is extremely dangerous because of the high voltage.  The electricity must be transformed from a high voltage to a lower voltage that can be used in our house lights and appliances.  You often see transformers on power poles or other electrical boxes that perform the function of transforming the electricity into a useful voltage.  In a similar way, those who are non-Christians must be changed from not being useful to God to those who serve Him and please Him.  That transformation requires a changing of the heart and a renewing of the mind with a new Spirit within us.

The transformation includes walking by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).  It is walking according to the spirit and not according to the flesh (Romans 8:1).  It is loving God the Father and not loving the world (1 John 2:5).  It is setting your mind on things above and not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2).  It is loving your neighbor and your enemy and not hating your enemy (Matthew 5:43).   It is blessing those who curse you rather that cursing in return (Matt 5:44).  It is not taking vengeance but overcoming evil with good (Romans 12:19-21).  This new way is different from conforming to the world.  That is why we must be transformed.

The transformation is by the renewing of our minds. The inward change occurs in our minds and the Holy Spirit leads us in the way we should go.  The inward change produces the outward change in action. We accept that we are dead to our old life and we walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4).

When we are transformed, we “prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Through our transformed lives, we demonstrate how God desires people to live.

My encouragement to you is to be transformed.  Pray for God’s power within you to complete this transformation.

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