As the years go by, technology grows and improves. It wasn’t much long ago when smart phones came out. Now, it seems everyone from elementary school and up has a phone to communicate, play games, connect with social media, etc. Good, decent laptops are getting more affordable to buy. While all of this does advance the human race, it also comes with a price. Doing the wrong thing is much easier now than it was only a few decades ago.
However, we as Christians are different than that. We are held to a higher standard: to be set apart from the world. When our ‘friends’ ask us to come do a wrongful act because it’ll make us ‘cool’ and ‘popular’, we must turn them down. When our girlfriend or boyfriend tempts us to be impure, we have to say no. We are set apart from the world to follow Jesus and to follow his instructions. We can’t do that while doing sinful acts.
There is a couple verses that really instruct us well on this matter, found in Romans 12:1-2 (ESV) as it reads, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable, and perfect.” In this post, I will analyze these verses and break them down so that we may have a better understanding of them.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship…”
In the first part of the verse, Paul is making an urgent request for us to give our entire being, both body and soul, to God. That means that we present ourselves as a living sacrifice, to live a holy life, and to say words and to make actions that are acceptable to God. Because of God’s merciful and saving grace, we do this. If you truly believe in Jesus Christ, than that comes with a cost of making an effort to live a different life that is set apart from the people of the world. We must remain pure. We must not use the vulgar language that so many people use. We cannot allow ourselves to fall into the traps of the enemy.
If that means that we stop hanging around a group of certain friends, then so be it. If that means we need to end the relationship that we’re in, then so be it. If that means we need to get rid of the games, movies, or music that just goes against everything Christians stand for, then so be it. Yes, it may make us look bad, and yes, it may upset some people. Though radical it may be, we must do it to because of who we follow, and if you truly love God, then you will find the strength to do it.
Please don’t get me wrong when I say these things. I don’t mean for us to retreat from society, hate secular music, or that we should only watch ‘Christian’ entertainment (that would be a difficult thing to do these days). But I’ll admit…there are some songs that go so far that I am obligated to remove them from my phone. There are some games that I should get rid of because they go too far against what I stand for in Christ. If you are strong in the faith, then it may be good to have some unbelieving friends so that you can show them the truth, but if you are struggling and your group of friends are pushing you down the wrong path, than its time to find some true friends.
“… Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…”
We cannot allow ourselves to fall into the hands of the enemy. He will tempt us to do the wrong thing. He will exploit our weaknesses. He will steal, kill, and destroy. He will always use the world to bring us to our fall. The word conform means to behave according to socially acceptable conventions and standards, so how do we resist conforming to the world? When Satan comes, we must turn to God.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV) reads, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Because God is faithful, He will not let any temptation be too much for His chosen people. Not only that, He also provides a way out to escape the temptation.
John 10:10 (ESV) reads, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” The enemy will do his best to steal, kill, and destroy. Thanks be to God, Jesus came so that we may be filled with an abundance of life. For those that believe and love Him, we don’t have to worry about the enemy because our Lord saved us when He defeated death and the grave. When we lean into Him, Satan has no power over us.
Rather than being conformed to the world, we are transformed through a renewed mind that we get through Jesus Christ. Rather than behaving according to socially acceptable standards, we are transformed. We make a thorough and dramatic change in our form, appearance, and character. Our minds are refreshed through Jesus Christ. We see the truth and because we love Him, we change our ways to follow his commandments.
“… that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable, and perfect.”
The final part has to deal with testing and discerning. In order for us to discern what is the will of God and what goes against it, we must constantly be testing, so that we’d distinguish from good and bad, what is acceptable and unacceptable, and what is perfect and flawed. By testing it, you will be able to discern these things.
The first step to discernment is to ask yourself this question: What does the Bible say on this matter? I’ve said this before, but the Scriptures lays out the instructions, commandments, and rules for us to follow. If an action goes against those things, don’t do it. If you have to make a decision, ask yourself if God would approve of it. If not, than don’t make that decision. If saying particular words are wrongful in the eyes of God, don’t utter them.
We must test everything we do: every action we take, every word we say, every game we play, every song we listen to, every decision we make, and we test these things so that we may discern what is godly. We do this so that we don’t conform to the world, but are transformed instead. We do this so that we present our bodies as a living sacrifice, both holy and acceptable in the eyes of our God.
I understand this might have been a tough post to read for some. I urge you to meditate on the things I said and to take them into heart and consideration. This was not only a challenge to you, but to myself as well. Though some of these things may seem hard to us, we must realize that God will give us the strength to make the transformation.
May we all present our whole body to God as a living sacrifice. May we live holy and acceptable lives. May we not be conformed, but transformed into a new and better person. May we all test the things we do so that we can discern what the will of God is and what is good, acceptable, and perfect. May we all be set apart from the world so that we can truly love, worship, and praise God.