Many of us have gotten into the mindset that when we overindulge and eat too much, we can just "work it off" the next day. But I watched a video clip that showed that in 10 minutes, someone running on a treadmill burns only about 50 calories but in those same 10 minutes, someone can consume 1/2 a pizza and a beverage which totals about 1500 calories! The point being is that no amount of exercise can overcome a continual overindulgence of calories. In the same way, what we feed into our mind during the week cannot be overcome by just coming to church for an hour on Sunday.
Two weeks ago when we looked at Romans 12:1, we saw that what God really wants is YOU. God desires a whole-hearted relationship with you. We are continuing our series on Romans 12 by looking at verse 2 this week. This verse gives us more insight into the "how" of learning to trust God with our whole lives, to be living sacrifices.
According to Romans 12:2, our goal is to test and approve God's will. In order to be able to discern that, we must not conform to the pattern of this world but we must be transformed by the renewing of our mind.
First let's look at God's will. When we think of God's will, we immediately jump into wondering what God's individual will is for my life. What school does God want me to go to? What career does God want me to pursue? Who does God want me to marry?
But what if we come at this question from a little different perspective? God's plan and purpose is the redemption (rescue) of humankind and the establishment of the kingdom of God with Christ as the eternal King. Then we ask: How does my life fit into God's will? How does my life fit into God's plan and purpose for the world?
This is where we need discernment. We need to test and see how our life is fitting into God's plan and purpose. And the apostle Paul gives us two guidelines for being able to discern God's will.
1) Do not be conformed to this world. This is so simple to say but so hard to do! We are inundated in this world and culture. JB Phillips' translation says it best: Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its mould.
2) Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Transformation happens from the inside out. Renewing your mind is all about making intentional choices about what is going into your mind and spirit.
By God's grace this isn't all about our own effort. The Holy Spirit is there every step of the way, leading and guiding. But we must feed the Word of God and good things into our mind and spirit to be able to discern how we can live in and live out God's will and purpose in our lives.