Weekend, November 4, 2023
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2 NLT)
When the Bible speaks of the world, it’s speaking of a culture that is largely hostile to God. That culture is on television, in the music you listen to, and in movie theaters. It’s a culture that basically says, “Do what you want to do. Please yourself. Do whatever it takes. The ends justify the means.”
But the Bible tells us, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (Romans 12:2 NLT). The J. B. Phillips New Testament puts it this way: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould.”
All too often, believers allow the world to influence them more than they’re influencing the world. Secular thinking creeps into the church, and as a result, we disregard what the Bible teaches and live the way this culture tells us to live.
However, we won’t find the happiness that we’re looking for. Instead, we’ll find emptiness, misery, and dissatisfaction because we’re out of God’s will.
Someone once asked a concert violist how she became so skilled. She gave a two-word answer: “planned neglect.” In other words, she neglected everything that wasn’t related to her goal, which was to be a master violinist.
If we want to be followers of Jesus, there is an element of planned neglect as well. It means staying away from the things that pull us away and drag us down and embracing the things that build us up and strengthen us in the commitment we’ve made.
We present ourselves to God, but at the same time, we don’t conform to this world.
Romans 12:2 goes on to say, “Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (NLT).
God’s will is good. Some people envision God as the ultimate killjoy. When things are going well in their lives, they think God wants to crash the party and make their lives miserable. Yet how far from the truth that is. God’s plans for us are good.
The Bible teaches that God is good. It also tells us in Psalm 84:11, “For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right” (NLT).
If the Bible tells us to stay away from a certain thing, it is for our own good. God is not trying to make our lives miserable. He wants us to reach our potential and live in the perfect plan that He has for us. His plans and purposes for us are good.
Reject conformity to this world’s system and its self-indulgent ways, and instead be conformed to the image of Jesus. As you do that, you will begin to discover His plan for you.
Don’t be afraid to surrender to Him. Don’t let this world squeeze you into its mold. Live the way that God wants you to live.
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