“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” (Romans 12:2 NKJV)
Chuck Swindoll said, “We like to imagine ourselves a race of rugged individuals – the Patrick Henry’s, Davy Crocketts and Lone Rangers. The truth is, we hate to appear different lest we be ostracized, branded fanatics and rejected. So, we CONFORM. You’ll see it in the child eager to please; the adolescent aligning with peer pressure; the adult breaking their back to keep up with the Joneses.”
Just being different for its own sake is likely to be worthless, even counterproductive. What God wants from us is our willingness to be Radically TRANSFORMED! “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not CONFORM any longer 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” (vss. 1-2 NIV)
With that said: Here are some important observations to help you reach the goal of TRANSFORMATION:
1. TRANSFORMATION BELONGS TO BELIEVERS: The unbeliever can’t break the world’s control over them without Christ, but Believers Are Promised: “…you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world” (1 John 4:4 NLT). God’s indwelling Spirit Enables you to Resist the world’s pressure to CONFORM you to its ways. Keep in mind: “Conformity is the Jailer of Freedom and the Enemy of Growth” (John F. Kennedy) People of God, Conformity will Imprison your God-given Creativity and Stunt your Spiritual Growth! But your God said: “If the Son gives you Freedom, You Are Free” (John 8:36 CEV) And “…we will Grow to Become In Every Respect the Mature Body of Him Who is the Head, that is, Christ” (Ephesians 4:15 NIV). Therefore, why would you do something that Contradicts what God’s Word Said To You and About You?! You are to Be Free and Grow! You Are Not, Under Any Circumstances, To CONFORM! So Don’t!
2. GOD’S APPEAL IS URGENT: “…I URGE you, brothers…” (Romans 12:1 NIV) Words like URGE, BEG, PLEAD AND BESEECH are used in some translations because the appeal isn’t secondary or optional. IT’S VITAL, A DIVINE IMPERATIVE! God is seeking for surrendered vessels that are ready to be TRANSFORMED for His Use, RIGHT NOW! Are you willing to say, “Yes, Lord, Use Me?” Keep in mind: “To be one’s self, and unafraid whether right or wrong, is more admirable than the easy cowardice of surrender to conformity” (Irving Wallace) Yes, through TRANSFORMATION you will look, talk, think and act different, and that’s alright! You are suppose to! God is URGING You to Be Unique! Step Out of the Box! Look at it this way: Maybe the Reason You See No One Doing It Yet, Is Because They Haven’t Seen Anyone Do It Yet Either! So, Take the Risk! Take Charge! Take the Initiative! Be Different! By Stepping out of your Conformity Uniform, You Never Know How Many Other People Will Follow You And Change Their Wardrobe Too!The Bible says: “I URGE you…” The word “urge” means “to strongly recommend” It’s Latin Origin “urgere” means “to press or to drive“. IN OTHER WORDS, THIS MEANS A LOT TO GOD! SO IT SHOULD MEAN A LOT TO YOU TOO! He’s pressing you, driving you, urging you to TRANSFORM! SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? DO IT NOW!
3. TRANSFORMATION REQUIRES PERSONAL SACRIFICE: Transformation is not easy, natural or automatic! It calls for becoming a “…LIVING SACRIFICE…”. However, the problem with “…LIVING…” Sacrifices is their tendency to keep escaping the altar, having to be led back repeatedly to be sacrificed again and again! Salvation is an instant experience, but there can be no instant, once-for-all “..LIVING SACRIFICE…” It’s a day-to-day, moment-by-moment recommitment, that means bringing our stubborn nature back to the altar, surrendering it to God as often as necessary! Don’t wait for your old nature to improve, or to agree to die before concluding your sacrifice is truly genuine! And don’t let it discourage you in your battle for victory; your old nature and your regenerated spirit are mutual enemies! “The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. THESE TWO FORCES ARE CONSTANTLY FIGHTING EACH OTHER, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions” (Galatians 5:17 NLT). Your job isn’t to obliterate the flesh, but to crucify it each time it wants to take over, refusing to let it curtail or cripple your commitment to spiritual growth! I believe Apostle Paul said it best: “But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit]” (1 Corinthians 9:27 AMP). PEOPLE OF GOD, YOU ARE A LIVING SACRIFICE…SO GET ON THE ALTAR AND BE TRANSFORMED!
4. TRANSFORMATION IS A TWO-SIDED ISSUE: “…offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God” (Romans 12:1 NIV). That involves a resolute decision of mind and will, because our bodies don’t surrender themselves! Until YOU DELIBERATELY CHOOSE to “offer your [body]…to God,” your flesh will act unrestrained! “I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, SO NOW offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness” (Romans 6:19 NIV). When you surrender to your lower impulses, you reap sin! When you surrender to God, you reap His blessing! THE REQUIREMENT IS TRANSFORMATION…HOWEVER, THE CHOICE TO TRANSFORM…IS ULTIMATELY YOURS! YOU HAVE TO ENSURE THAT YOUR INNER MAN SUBDUES YOUR OUTER MAN! BUT IF YOUR OUTER MAN IS ALWAYS AT THE WHEEL AND IN CONTROL OF DRIVING YOUR FLESH, YOUR SPIRIT MAN DOESN’T STAND A CHANCE SITTING IN THE PASSENGER OR BACK SEAT WITH NO CONTROL! SO YOU CAN EITHER GIVE THE KEYS TO YOUR SPIRIT MAN AND ARRIVE SAFELY AT YOUR DESTINY/DESTINATION, COMPLETELY TRANSFORMED OR YOU CAN GIVE THE KEYS TO YOUR MAN OF FLESH AND SPEND THE REST OF YOUR LIFE RUNNING OVER CLIFFS, HITTING DEAD ENDS, STUCK AT STOP LIGHTS…GOING ABSOLUTELY NO WHERE! EITHER WAY…THE CHOICE IS ALL YOURS! I SUGGEST YOU CHOOSE WISELY!
Transformation Requires Giving Yourself Fully to God! But then what does it mean to give yourself fully to God?
1. IT’S AN ACT OF WORSHIP: “…offer your bodies…this is your Spiritual Act of WORSHIP” (vs. 1 NIV). Worship isn’t just attending Sunday service, singing praises and saying prayers. If it was, the Bible wouldn’t say the following: “The Master said: “These people make a BIG SHOW of saying the right thing, but their hearts aren’t in it. BECAUSE THEY ACT LIKE THEY’RE WORSHIPING ME BUT DON’T MEAN IT, I’m going to step in and shock them awake, astonish them…exposed as fools…” (Isaiah 29:13 MSG). It’s more than the “Big Show” of shouting in pews, and running up and down the isles, sweating, screaming, crying and falling out! God said they “…make a Big Show…But Their Hearts Aren’t In It…” God does not desire your Praise Performance, He Desires Wholehearted Worship! And it calls for surrendering your heart to God twenty-four hours of every day; whether you’re alone or in a crowd, at work, enjoying recreation, spending family time, at school, on a date, or just walking the dog. Your Lifestyle should be a Life Lived In Worship Daily! Whether in the Pulpit or Picking Up Potatoes from the Market, Your Entire Life Ought to be Lived as a Spiritual Act of Worship! If your heart isn’t moving you, your behaviors will only be an act of reluctant compliance rather than one of joyful commitment. Surrendering to God isn’t a part-time thing done for your own benefit; it’s a full-time act of worship done for God’s benefit! Keep in mind: “You cannot fulfill God’s purposes for your life while focusing on your own plans” (Rick Warren). Perhaps your song of the day should be “I Surrender All”!TRANSFORMATION INCLUDES WORSHIP!
2. IT’S A RESPONSE TO GOD’S GENEROSITY: “…In view of God’s mercy…offer your bodies…” (Romans 12:1 NIV). God doesn’t say, “If you don’t surrender I will punish you” There’s no arm twisting! You don’t submit through clenched teeth because of fear; NO, IT’S A RESPONSE TO A DEBT! Everything God asks is initiated by HIS GIVING! YOUR REPENTANCE IS A RESPONSE TO HIS LOVE! YOUR TITHE IS A RESPONSE TO HIS BLESSING AND PROVISION! YOUR OBEDIENCE IS A RESPONSE TO HIS PROMISES! God’s grace is never “a deal,” it’s the “free gift” of His love to the undeserving (Romans 5:18, “Well then, as one man’s trespass [one man’s false step and falling away led] to condemnation for all men, so one Man’s Act of Righteousness [leads] to acquittal and right standing with God and life for all men” AMP). Therefore “in view of”- as a rational response to – His mercy, “offer your bodies as living sacrifices” It’s your “reasonable service” and it will be “acceptable to God”. GOD GAVE YOU ALL OF HIMSELF…HOW DO YOU JUSTIFY RATIONING OUT YOURSELF TO HIM?
Lastly, each time we offer our bodies as “living sacrifices” to God, our stubborn nature will rebel! But with Christ in control we can break its grip!
“Do not CONFORM…to the pattern of this world, but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind” (NIV).
We have the option; be CONFORMED or TRANSFORMED!
Tip: Deciding “I will not CONFORM to the world” will Always Lead to a TRANSFORMED Life and Lifestyle!
Truth is: Your old nature Naturally CONFORMS, enslaving you to worldly influences! Which is why the Phillip’s translation says it like this: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould”!
Saints, CONFORMING to the world’s values – like sensuality, pride, control, etc. – will rob you of the liberating power of Christ living in you, resulting in a recurring cycle of guilt, failure and discouragement!
Choosing NOT to CONFORM to this world is what opens the door to your TRANSFORMATION!
Unlike Conformity, which is externally initiated, your walk with God will become an outer expression of an INNER CHANGE! The tadpole’s life is TRANSFORMED into the frog’s life, and the caterpillar’s into the butterfly’s . Likewise, You become TRANSFORMED from THE INSIDE…OUT! How does it happen? “Greater is HE that’s IN YOU, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4)!
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO TRANSFORM, HAS ALREADY BEEN TRANSPLANTED IN YOU THROUGH THE SURGICAL PROCEDURE OF SALVATION!
WHAT, OR SHALL I SAY WHO, IS IN YOU, IS WHAT’S GOING TO HELP YOU, TRANSFORM! SO NO MORE EXCUSES! NOR COMPROMISING FOR CONFORMITY!
And while you’re at it, add to your decision not to conform…a renewed commitment to “the renewing of your mind,” which in Greek text simply means you think God’s thoughts instead of your old thoughts!
Then watch as a Holy Spirit-Empowered TRANSFORMATION begins to take place in your daily life! Which Will Ultimately Overflow Into the Lives of All of Those Connected to You!
So I Ask You Once Again…Are You CONFORMED or TRANSFORMED?
NO ONE CAN ANSWER THAT…BUT YOU!
Feel Free to Join Us On Sisterhood School of Inspiration at:www.sisterhoodschoolofinspiration.blogspot.com Today’s Lesson: “FOOD FOR THOUGHT FRIDAY: YOU ARE TRIUMPHANT!”