A blog series on being Transformed into the Image of Christ
"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
I have spent the past month or so blogging about The Roman Road and Salvation in Christ. We learned that God wants us to believe in our hearts that He is a Holy God who sent His Son as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. And in order to receive this free gift, we must repent, confess and believe. So, what now? For the ones who have been a Christian for many years –What Now? For those of you who have just accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior –What Now?
The Bible tells us that we should not be conformed to the world. If you were to look up conform in the dictionary you would find that conform means “to be similar in form or type;” agree”, “behave according to socially acceptable conventions or standards”, or to “comply with rules, standards, or law”. If you are anything like me, you have spent many years of your life trying to conform, to fit in, to be accepted and in agreeance with the people around you. It is the route to popularity, right? It assures us that we have people on our side backing us up, encouraging us in the direction of the world and the popular culture that exists at that time. The issue here is that just like bell-bottom jeans, the trend of what is acceptable is constantly changing. So, to keep up with this, you must live a life based on the ever-changing feelings, thoughts, and beliefs of the ones around you.
Paul instead points Christians towards a solid, steady foundation in Christ. He tells us that we should be transformed by renewing our minds. Put simply, transformation means that we change into something new. We look different to those around us, we act differently, we speak differently, and we think differently. This change is the result of our hearts and our minds being set on Christ instead of the world around us.
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. Leviticus 19:1-2
God’s plan was never for us to be in agreeance with the sinful world around us, instead, He has called us to live our lives set apart from the world. Do you know what the word holy means in the verse above? It means separate or set apart. Here God is telling the nation of Israel, to be different, to look different, and to act differently than the nations that surrounded them. He was calling them to separate from the things that are in opposition to His commands and truths. Why? Because they were His people, they were created in His image, and they were to follow His footsteps as closely as possible and replicate His holiness.
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:13
So, what does that look like for us? How do we live a life set apart for God? For starters, as followers of Christ, we should begin learning and growing in our knowledge of God and His perfect plan at the moment that we accept Salvation. We should prepare our hearts and minds each morning to ready us to face any darkness that comes our way. We should understand that our Father in Heaven desires a mutual relationship with us and through this relationship, He grows us, shapes us, molds us, and transforms us more into the image of His Son Jesus. This transformation process should begin at Salvation and continue throughout the remainder of our lives on earth. Through renewing our minds constantly by allowing God’s word to saturate our hearts and our lives, we become image-bearers for Jesus. True transformation can only happen when the power of Christ lives in us. We can try to do better be better and look better to the world around us but in our own strength, we will never achieve it. God is our everyday renewal and the perfector of our faith. However, it is up to us to move toward Him to begin this transformation.
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:18-19
So why do we try so hard to fit in when we were designed by a Holy God to live set apart? Jesus made it clear that following Him would result in the world being in opposition to us. And as difficult as that is, this rejection should be expected. Followers of Christ should be known by their love, while the world is known by its hatred of the things pleasing to God. The closer we grow to God, the less we desire the things that are pleasing to the flesh. Though we will always struggle with sin and temptation, our relationship with our Heavenly Father provides us with a joy that is found nowhere else.
Are you looking for ways to renew your mind and allow God to transform you to live a life set apart for Him? Whether you are a new believer or you have been a Christian for many years –my answer is the same. As followers of Christ, we must discipline ourselves to spend time with Him daily. In this time, He teaches us, grows us, and opens our eyes to His plan for our lives.
I tell you all of this from experience. I became a Christian many years ago, but I didn’t embrace a daily walk with Him. Up until several years ago, I had tried to do life my way with a little bit of Jesus when it was convenient and a lot of the world and what it expected of me. However, I learned rather quickly that that just didn’t work. But over time I was taught what it meant to have a relationship with God. I was finally able to see that the day I became a Christian was just the beginning of my story and the remainder was where God would transform me through His Word. I made a choice that day to be with Him, to walk with Him day by day, to spend time with Him, to abide in Him, and allow my life to be a testimony for His purposes instead of my own.
Are you looking for tips on how to live a transformed life for Christ? Simply put, make a choice and intentionally dedicate time each to God Almighty. Introduce spiritual disciplines one at a time you’re your day. Spiritual disciplines are things that we discipline ourselves to do for the purpose of growth in Christ. Some examples of spiritual disciplines are prayer, worship, Bible study, scripture memory, and Solitude. Though there are more disciplines than these, I would encourage you to start with one of these. This time will grow you, transform you and renew you for the purpose that God has for you. And through this time you will begin seeking God’s plan instead of what the world is pulling you towards.
Over the next few weeks, we will uncover ways to live our lives set apart for God. We will discover how to look different than the world around us and how to be representatives of Christ for the purpose of being used by Him to further His kingdom. Through this, my prayer is that you will seek Him and His plans for your life and allow Him to be your unchanging joy.
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Our Bible Reading plan this week will cover Holiness, and living our lives for Christ. Don't forget to subscribe to the blogs and you will receive the pdf printable version of the reading plan.
Many of us have mastered the disciplines of gathering as a church on Sunday morning, but what does the rest of your week look like? What would it look like for you to have a tool that helped you grow in your relationship with the Lord every day of the week? I can tell you what it looks like because I’ve experienced it! Your relationship is going to grow. You may even realize that you are forming a true relationship for the first time! That’s what Growing in God is all about! Are you ready to take the next step? I want to walk along beside you.