(I’ve decided to repost some past blogs during the remainder of August. The following was originally posted on August 18, 2004 at my old blog location. )
I’ve been thinking about Romans 12:1-2 lately, where Paul instructs the Christians in Rome to be transformed, rather than being conformed to this world. The difference between those two words, conformed and transformed, is striking. Without bothering to check out Webster’s, I offer the following definitions:
Conformed – molded to or around, made like
Transformed – changed from one thing to another, made new
Conforming is something I can do on my own. I can conform to the expectations others have for me or to the expectations I have for myself. I can adopt the standards and convictions of those around me, so that their lifestyles and attitudes become my own. This verse is probably single-handedly responsible for many of the standards and rules I, along with many other people, were forced to abide by for so many years. I was taught that these rules were in place to keep us from looking like, and conforming to, the world. The only problem was, the very exhortation of “be not conformed to this world,” in its execution, resulted in conformation to another system. In refusing to be molded to the image of this world, I wrapped myself around and became comfortable in something equally distant from God’s heart; the approval of man.
Transformation implies something happening to me from the inside out. How am I transformed? By the renewing, on an ongoing basis, of my mind. And how is my mind made new? By the of the word of God and the continual working of his Holy Spirit. The more I am being transformed in this way, the less I will be molded to the world. But this transformation is nothing I can bring about in my own power. I haven’t the slightest clue how it all works, this miraculous and continual transformation of my life. As I see it, my part is simply to be yielded to the Holy Spirit and immersed in His word.
The results of this transformation are humbling. No one tells me to change the radio station or not rent that movie. No one approves my reading list anymore. I don’t have to go through dress checks or turn in Christian activity reports. But my desires are changing day by day. I’m no where near the ultimate goal, that of being like Christ. But like nothing else, I crave His working in my life. I long for my desires to be His desires.
To be molded is easy. It’s visible and measurable and brings a feeling of satisfaction. I’d rather be morphed . . . changed . . . transformed. I’m constantly dissatisfied with myself. But that’s okay. Ultimately, God wants to be the only source of satisfaction for the desires He puts in my heart. Thankfully, God reminds me that He promises to bring to completion His work in my life. All I need to do is get out of the way.