How this verse is shattering my self-righteousness.
DO NOT CONFORM 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. -ROMANS 12:2
Am I living in step with the crooked ways of my generation?
Our verse asks us this honest question. It calls those ways “the pattern of the world”. And my knee jerk, surface-level response is, “No, of course not.” In a snap, my rationale is ready. I think to myself, “I’m a pretty good person. Heck, I do ALL the things for my kids, I’m kind to my neighbors, I give time and money to great causes, I read my Bible. I’m doing alright at not looking like the “big bad world.” I can give myself a pat on the back and move on.
But can I? Really?
Truth is, that answer doesn’t sit well with me for very long. And that’s exactly where this whole “memorizing verses” thing gets me. When I memorize a verse, I can’t just breeze over the harder things. I have to sit with them, meditate on them, and really let them sink in and make me squirm. Every time I recite this verse, it relentlessly pesters me, asking for the true truth. I have to really consider, “Am I conforming to the patterns of this world? Am I really?” I mean, yes. Yes, I am. All the time.
(CONTINUED FROM ABOVE)
So there it is. The truth.
I do conform to the pattern of this world, every day in big and small ways. How? Well, let's just take a closer look at my laundry list of good deeds that I cited earlier. Sure, I constantly do tons of things for my kids. But how often do I resent it? And that same neighbor I make cookies for, you can bet I’ve gossiped about her too. And the sad truth is, I think a whole lot more about spending my money and time on me than on those great causes. I might read my Bible, but am I trying to find happiness in things, or shows, or people, or anything else that isn’t God? All the time. Do you see? My forty-something version of conforming to the world may not look like my early-college, wild, party-lifestyle (Just thinking about that honestly makes me tired!), but it isn’t pretty all the same. No, I’m tempted in other ways to be selfish, tear people down, and just plain chase after easy, enticing fillers that never truly satisfy.
This verse isn’t for comparisons.
It’s not for me to think, “at least I’m not like so-and-so.” Nope. This verse is for me. It’s poking at me, personally, because I need to be poked. I need to be primarily concerned with me, so I can deal with me.
So, what do I do about me?
I go to God. I can tell you one thing from experience, God is the right person to go to with my “me-ness”. Though I might be tempted to hide in shame or just keep on denying my problems, when I go to God, he will have none of that! He wants the full-on, honest me. Sure, I feel exposed and ashamed when I’m confronted with my shortcomings. But, God doesn’t expose me to shame me; instead, he loves me right there and then, forgives me, and dusts me off again. He reveals my faults to call me towards something better. You see, he doesn’t want me living a life of bitter resentment or petty gossip or superficial materialism. He loves me and he wants my life to be beautiful and extraordinary.
And he’s willing to do that work in me.
I need him to transform me, to renew my way of thinking, to help me understand and want his perfect and good ways for my life. And he calls me to participate in that work, to put myself under his care, to daily walk with him. And, it is some legit hard work too. But it is good, holy work! So, join me here again next week where we will talk about what that participation in our own transformation looks like. It’s gonna be some good stuff!
What about you? What are some ways that you tend to conform to unhealthy/unbiblical patterns?
How does knowing God is for you and for your thriving make following his ways less of a duty and more of a joy?
Thanks for reading,
Meet Natalie,Dwell co-founder
Hi there, I'm Natalie! I'm so glad you're here. I'd love to connect with you to hear more about what God is doing in your life!
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