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Go on being transformed

Romans 12v2

3rd May 2019

We've been thinking about these words:

Romans 12v1-2
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 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.

We've seen, I hope, that for us to live lives that might be described as "living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God", we need God to transform or mind and not just our actions.

Sometimes, though, it can be really hard for people who have been Christians for as long as I have to continue to let God change our minds. One of the huge traps we can fall into is imagining that we know it all by now, that we don't need to do any more thinking, because we think we more or less know all that we need to know about God and church and ethics. We think it's the young ones who need to learn, but we're more or less there. And then God says something new.

Perhaps we see something in Scripture that we hadn't noticed before, and we say "well, that must be wrong. If that had been right, I'd have known it by now". Or a preacher says something we haven't heard before, and we think "I disagree with him so he must be wrong". But when Paul wrote "be transformed by the renewing of your mind", he used what linguists call the present continuous tense. It means go on being transformed, go on being renewed. It never stops. It's a continual life-long process. Everyday, change your mind about something.

Paul says, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world". Unlearn everything you were taught before you were a Christian. Learn God's way rather than the world's way. But that's not enough. I suspect that most Christians have learnt as much rubbish since we became Christians as we learnt before. Just because another Christian teaches you something, doesn't make it right. And we're all subject to influences from non-Christians all the time. If you watch the BBC, if you read the newspapers, if you work in a secular job, if you have non-Christian friends (as you surely should) ideas are pouring into your ears all the time, many of them ungodly.

Do not be conformed any longer but be transformed and go on being transformed. I hope your church encourages Bible study. I hope your church preaches the Bible, all the Bible, and nothing but the Bible. Every one of us needs our minds to go on being changed. If we will come to God and say "Lord, take my mind as it is now, and transform it", we will live far more victorious Christian lives.

But what deep ideas are you so attached that you won't let God take it away from you? What have you been taught by your parents, or your friends, or your school teachers, or your boss, or your favourite newspaper, or internet sites, that actually aren't helpful for a Christian?

Some of us were taught to be ambitious in the wrong sense. Some of have been taught to stick up for number one - not a very New Testament concept. Some of us have been taught not to forgive, but to bear a grudge - the most un-Christian attitude possible. Some have been taught that revenge is a good thing. I could go on. We've been taught all sorts of stuff. Are we willing to unlearn whatever is not Biblical? If we will unlearn it, we can be transformed, and our lives can truly glorify God.

More on this next time.