‘Probing Deeper’ Meditations: 15. Renewed Thinking?
Rom 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Most of the time we don’t tend to think about how we think. Often people refer to our ‘world view’, how we perceive the world, what we think about life and existence, but for most of us most of the time we don’t consciously think, “Ah, this is what I am thinking.” Yes, we have thoughts, ideas, feelings and so on, but we don’t stop to think about them – until we come to a verse like our starter verse today.
It seems to fall into two parts that overlap. The first part in a number of versions says, “don’t be conformed to this world”. One version says, “Don’t be like the people of this world.” Another says, “Don’t be shaped by this world.” They all suggest that life and the way others think and behave can make us think and act in the same way, but we’re to be different!
The second part of the verse shows how: “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Again one version speaks of “a new way of thinking,” and another simply says, “change the way you think.” Knowing God, knowing Christ, knowing what he has done for us, all of this Paul suggests, will change our whole outlook on life and make us very different people from others around us. The question as we probe deeper is, does it?
So let’s look again. The Living Bible puts it: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think.” This doesn’t just mean have a different outlook in respect of the drink-drugs-sex trio of unrighteous possibilities. The ‘pattern of this world’ starts with ungodliness – the absence of God in outlook, so the question might arise, how often do we put God into our thinking and actions, how often do we rely on His wisdom. There was a time some years ago when ‘WWJD’ prevailed and was seen on bracelets and anklets – what would Jesus do? Perhaps the question, “Lord what do you want of me here?” should perhaps not be far from our thoughts each day.
Such unworldly, new-kingdom thinking refuses to allow prejudices to prevail, sees all people as needy people in God’s sight who need redeeming, puts concern for others before self, looks to the Lord to see what He wants to say or do in any particular trying situation, refuses to let Satan stir dissension or division, discord or disunity, seek to praise rather that criticize, looks for the best in people not the worst, hopes in the face of adversity, tragedy, calamity, or confusion, trusting in the One who provides all the grace we need to let the transformation go beyond my thinking into all I do.