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. Romans 12:2 ESV
New Year’s Resolutions, many people tend to make them. The top ten New Year’s Resolutions this last year were diet, exercise, lose weight, save more money and spend less, learn a new skill or hobby, quit smoking, read more, new job, drink less alcohol, and spending more time with friends and family. We tend to look at New Year’s resolutions as a form of self improvement goals, things we want to do for ourselves either to fulfill our desires or to make ourselves appear better in some for or another. Now I am not saying there is anything completely wrong with New Year’s Resolutions, I mean half of them are regarding living a healthier lifestyle. The problem with New Year’s Resolutions is how many people actually stick to them? I mean the big joke is if you want to start working out at a gym, start in February after those who made resolutions have quit and the gym becomes less crowded.
The question is do we often take a similar approach to our spiritual life? We make promises that we will do things to improve ourselves spiritually only to give up on them after a short amount of time. How many of us made a resolution to read the Bible through in a year, or to do a daily devotional? How many of us have actually stuck to that resolution? One thing I will state New Year’s Resolutions it is said that 80% fail by February and only 8% of people actually achieve their resolutions.
The thing is what Paul is getting at here in this verse goes so much deeper than the concept of a resolution. In fact if you look at verse 1 we see that this is a daily intentional decision. To be transformed and not conformed is not something we can do on our own; but it is done by daily giving ourselves to God. It is humbling ourselves before God, looking to Him and seeking His desires, which in turn eventually become our desires as we are transformed. You see being conformed to the world is asking what can we do for ourselves, how can we make ourselves look good; even the most giving person if they are not following God their motives are purely for their own purpose. On the other side to be transformed is to rather ask what can I do to make God look good, what can I do to bring Him glory? You see the reason in the previous verse Paul states we need to present ourselves daily as a living sacrifice is that in order to be transformed we need to kill our selfish desires and humble ourselves daily, as pride is something we all struggle with and it is turning from our selfish desires and looking towards God and seeking His desires that results in the transformation. One verse I like to look at regarding this is Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Not in that God will be a genie and give you what you want, but as you look towards God, He will change or transform your desires to line up with His desires; or He renews your mind so that “you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”