Be Not Conformed to this World
By John Weaver
March 14, 2017
Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:2). Growing up Amish, I heard the first part of this verse preached a lot, but invariably the teaching would stop at the end of the sixth word. There is no period there, but a colon. Now, I am not an expert in sentence structure or grammar, but I do know there is a big difference between a period and a colon. The period means end of subject. A colon links what was just stated with what is coming. What comes after the colon is usually important.
Tragically, in the sermons I heard growing up, this verse was not at all taken in its proper context. The first six words were not the message. They were introducing the message; so, the message was lost and the whole emphasis was placed on the introduction. I am not saying this to criticize my people, but rather to clarify a misconception. Be not conformed to this world became the whole message, and because of another misconception—what the word world means in Scripture—the message was completely taken out of context.
I remember an event that happened almost fifty years ago. I was in a store when a curious customer asked an Amish worker why the Amish dress as they do. The girl, obviously uncomfortable with the question, blurted out, “The Bible says that we guys are to be different from you guys." She meant that the “English” were of the world and the Amish were to be different from the world, but needless to say, the customer had a perplexed look on his face.
Let us now take God’s Word in its proper context. A RENEWED MIND. The Lord will give us a new mind so that we can use it to discern the things of God. God promised to write His will on the fleshly tablets of our hearts, and not on stone or paper. Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart (2 Corinthians 3:3).
If it is written on our hearts and we have a renewed mind, we are completely new creatures! We have been transformed—changed by the Spirit of God. Here is where my people often got it so wrong. Instead of an inward transformation, they sought an outward reformation, and they would always demand a conformation: a conforming to the rules. They taught that we were to be different in appearance and conduct from the world, by which was meant anyone not of their culture. But they never got the message, which is the need for a renewed mind.
The blessing of a renewed mind is hard to put into words. When one’s mind is renewed, the Word of God and the things of God come alive! We have a relationship with the living God. We are able to enter into the holy of holies! Because of Jesus, we have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way (Hebrews 10:19-20). We can go right into the presence of God. All at once we realize that we are doing what Jesus told the woman at the well: we are worshipping God in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24). Praise His name! The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (2 Corinthians 3:6). Thank you, Jesus! Thank you for giving us life; thank you for the renewed mind.
God then sends the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us into ALL TRUTH. When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth (John 16:13). What a mighty God we serve! To all my friends who grew up with this same incomplete teaching, go on. Show the people who criticize you (or worse) what it is like to have a renewed mind—the mind of Christ. It is the renewed mind that can truly say, “Father forgive them.” It is by a renewed mind that we can return love when we are not treated kindly. The renewed mind will guide you and give you life. That is something that the letter of the law could never do. The teaching of the mind of Christ is so vast that I have barely scratched the surface. May you go forth into the world today, and may everyone you meet marvel that you have been gifted with a renewed mind. Thank you, Jesus!comments powered by Disqus« Back to Articles