The book of Romans is probably my favorite book of the Bible, at least from what I have read so far. Through my toughest times I am always stuck in Romans and get through the situation stronger and wiser. Paul, the author of Romans, explains our sinful nature in our flesh, the destruction it has but also how to live without giving in to the desires of our flesh. Of course, this is only one of the many subjects covered in Romans.
One thing I do when studying the scripture is read more than one version of the Bible. Each version speaks differently and gives more depth to the message. Personally, I prefer to use the Amplified Version, the New Living Translation, the New King James Version, and occasionally the New International Version. This is not to say that I won’t open my husband’s King James to read a verse. I follow the Holy Spirit and simply let it speak to me and actually LISTEN.
Lord, let the Holy Spirit fill me as I read your word. Let my own inner voice quiet so I can hear Your voice. Teach me Your way and Your will through the scripture I am about to read. Give me the wisdom and understanding I desire to know You more. I am clay in Your hands; shape and form me with Your word. Amen.
- Amplified Version
And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].
- New Living Translation
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
- King James Version
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Romans 12:2 pretty much sums up exactly how God wants us to live and why we should live that way. If there is an official list of Bible verses to memorize this verse would be on that list.
First, do not conform to living the way the rest of the world lives.
Conform: behaving according to socially acceptable conventions or standards; similar in form or type; agreeing and complying with rules, standards, and laws
To understand why we are not to live the way the world has deemed acceptable we must understand who rules the world we live in and decides the standards of what is acceptable.
God created the universe and the beautiful planet we reside on. He created mankind, first with Adam and Eve. But within that time period somewhere a beautiful angel named Lucifer became jealous of God and tried to overthrow Him with an uprising of angels. Of course God won, and cast Lucifer and his tribe of followers down to rule earth. Lucifer became Satan and as the story goes Satan used the serpent to tempt Eve to eat from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad creating sin and the fall of mankind. This one sin handed Satan power over the world. Because God gave Adam domain over the earth and all its dwellings, once Adam sinned he gave that power to the serpent AKA Satan. Now Satan has power over the unbelievers in the world who are fighting against the purposes of God causing the pain, evil, violence, ect. (see 2 Corinthians 4:4 and Ephesians 2:2). Once an unbeliever accepts Christ as Savior, Satan no longer has the power he did. This is usually why new believers are tempted and tested more than ever. Satan lost one soul and uses all he has power over to take back what now belongs to the Lord Almighty (this is salvation). So Satan is the major influence of ideals, opinions, goals, hopes, values, ethics, and philosophies of the majority of the world. Only about 30% of the world population identify as Christians but only God knows where a person’s heart and soul are.
All that being said, following the crowd and living the way the rest of the world does is handing your very soul to Satan, putting it bluntly. The values and principles in the world do not align with the values and principles of the righteous and godly.
Turn on the television. Flip through a magazine. Take a stroll through the mall. It’s not hard to see what society accepts and neglects. And more than not society accepts all the wrong things. There are television shows, movies, magazines, and music promoting adultery, polygamy, promiscuity, violence, hate, homosexuality, greed, envy, and gossip, just to name a few. Lifestyles focused on fulfilling the desires of the flesh are considered normal yet the conservative, modest lifestyles of believers and followers of Christ are made a mockery. More and more I see God being shunned and His children persecuted. This isn’t anything new (see 2 Corinthians 4:8-10) and it will oLordnly get worse the closer we come to the end times.
As if being a parent doesn’t have enough worries along with it, how can I sleep at night knowing what I have against me as a mother raising a child of God? Well, that right there is a trick question. I have God, the Lord Almighty and Jesus Christ, my Savior, to guide and show me how to raise my daughter. If I was on my own, relying on my own power, strength, and knowledge then yes, I would be in trouble. But all I need is ask for the wisdom and patience as a mother and I will receive.
One way to be sure I raise a God-fearing daughter is to be God-fearing myself. As a mother, I am also a role model. However I act most likely my daughter will too. What I make okay and acceptable my daughter will as well. Oh, the pressure! But with the Holy Spirit overflowing in me, it will spill out over my daughter (and the people I share my faith with) to fill her. Starting good habits while she is young will make it harder for the world to influence her. Living by God’s will and truth will be normal to her and she will see the ways of the world as they are; superficial and sinful.
Lord, give me the patience and wisdom to raise my daughter according to what is right by Your will. Let the truth of Your word be my guide and give me the courage and strength to do what is right even when the rest of the world is fighting against me. Fill my home with Your presence and keep my daughter in Your protection from any evil or harm the world may try to put upon her. Lord, You are the Almighty and take care of those who fear You. In Jesus Christ name, Amen.
Back to living according to the word…
Second, let God transform us by changing the way we think.
One word that caught my eye in this part of the verse is let. Let God transform you. This is talking about surrendering our life to God. By nature we are very controlling, especially when it comes to our own lives. We know best for ourselves, right? We know what we need to make us happy, and successful, and safe, and healthy; whatever we want or need. But our control is an illusion. Yes, we have free will, but that is just in the decisions we make. We have control to surrender or not. Say we decide to not surrender ourselves to God’s way of living, and we live the way we want, the way of our flesh. Since our flesh is controlled by our sinful nature, which we are born with and slaves to unless we accept Jesus as our Savior, we will then be living the way of the world. We’ve already figured the way of the world is that of Satan so when we decide to live our way, we are really living the way Satan wants. But when we surrender our life to God, and live as Jesus our Savior taught we will experience all the blessings and rewards promised for following and living for God. Matthew 16:24-27 Jesus describes how losing your worldly life and devoting your spiritual life to the cross will give you an eternal life in the kingdom of God. He questions what good is a worldly life when our body will die as well as our soul.
There is more when we surrender our life to a life for God. Once we hand over our life, He uses us to glorify Him. So all our problems, all our issues, we no longer are going through those times alone. We have Jesus right beside us. We no longer have the burden of figuring out how to fix whats wrong, or what to do. We have God taking care and guiding our way. He uses us to reach others and find the lost. Each believer as a testimony and each testimony begins the same way; surrender.
Why wouldn’t you want to surrender? Hand over all your worries and rest in God. Why keep worrying about your life problems? You have a choice; use free will to let go and let God.
With this surrender we become the person God has purposed us to be. As we read the Bible, we mature with stronger faith, more courage, more peace, and wisdom. We develop a true intimate relationship with God. And we share this experience with the people in our life. We fulfill our God-given purpose instead of wandering this earth asking ourselves what we are supposed to be doing. And we find we can get through whatever life wants to throw at us. We are no longer relying on our own strength and power and knowledge to get over a problem. God knew our purpose before we were ever born, even if you don’t believe, He believes in you and has something special designed just for you.
How hard is that?
Ha! Well it took me 27 years to figure it out, so you tell me!
Better 27 years later than never though. And you have no idea how I feel now.
I can look in the mirror and instead of seeing my body, I see my soul. I see a woman specifically chosen for a particular purpose that only I was created to accomplish. I have no idea what my entire purpose is yet, but I do know that my beautiful daughter is part of the plan.
And my past; is a testimony of God’s amazing grace, and incredible love. I never have to relive any part of it, I never have to condemn myself for it, I never have to be ashamed. Because I am not defined by my past. I am defined as a child of God. Only God judges me. And He loves me so much I don’t need acceptance from the world or anyone of the world.
I have no worries today. No anxieties about how I am going to make it, how I am going to survive; because God is taking care of me. He provides and protects. He guides me and gives me whatever strength and wisdom I need. He always has and He always will.
My goal each morning when I open my eyes is pray to God and ask Him what He wants me to do that day. And I open my Bible and build my relationship up and mature my spirit. I am thankful for everything I have and take every opportunity to share God’s love and grace. No matter what I encounter each day God will give me the tools I need.
When I read Romans 12:2 I was instantly changed. The Holy Spirit filled my soul and spoke to me. It was everything I needed at that moment in my life. I was praying, asking God, What do I do? I expected to see a local Help Wanted sign, a call for an interview, or a surprise check in the mail. But Romans 12:2 popped up on my Bible website and He answered me. That’s when this blog began and my soul renewed.
God answers prayers in ways we never thought.
Listen and follow Him.
He knows best. After all, He is the maker of our purpose.
Everyday I am changing, renewing my mind, and transforming to work the perfect will of God.
Want to read the Word in New Living Translation?
NLT is in plain everyday language and easier for me to understand a lot of times. I don’t get so distracted by all the “thou”, “thee”, “hath”, and “shall”. When the Bible is easier to read and understand then I am more likely to open the book everyday and study how God wants me to live and develop a relationship with our Lord Almighty.
Our Spiritual Maturity is in our own hands when the good book is opened in them.