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
I think a lot of us, as Christians, assume that because we believe in God, that he’s transformed our nature – or will transform us in his time – and thus, we can just follow our nature. We live, simply going with the flow. God shapes our will right? So, it seems appropriate that we live according to our will. This is what I want and so this is what I will do. We don’t necessarily spend a lot of time questioning whether or not our way is right. Our path is the only one we’ve ever known, and we may not even realize or comprehend that there’s another way we should be living.
I’ve done this. I grew up always believing in God. Though I’ve been a Christian since a young age, I’ve not been automatically made perfect. My nature is still flawed, and I’ve lived – and still struggle with living – according to that flawed nature. I once lived, just following my appetite, which led in my case, to drug addiction. In the disastrous consequences of my addiction, I had to learn a new way of living – recovery.
Recovery is actively resisting my old way of life. I can no longer just sit back and go with the flow. Daily now, if I desire the new life, I must actively abandon the old and choose the new.
This is Paul’s message in today’s passage. In it, he exhorted us to not conform to the natural order of things. Instead, he insisted that we have a responsibility in our own transformation. The process of sanctification (spiritual growth) is one in which we must actively participate. If we let nature take its course, we don’t automatically become who we were made to be. God doesn’t leave us alone in this, but neither does he simply do everything for us. Sanctification, recovery, and transformation require us to actively resist the old life, obediently following Christ into the new one.
Do not conform. Be transformed. These are action commands which we must continually engage in if we truly follow Christ. Daily, we must actively resist our natural way of doing things so that we can experience the blessed life for which God made us. Through our obedience, we can experience the miracle of transformation.