Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. They you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
When we first get saved, there are a lot of changes that have to occur. Just like when a baby is born, there are a lot of changes that are coming. It would not be very good if a baby stayed a baby forever. While it is nice to hold and cuddle a baby, we want to see our children grow to maturity, to become the man or woman that God has intended for them to be.
We are not to conform any longer to the pattern of this world. Our world is broken. Our world is absorbed by self. All sorts of trouble and evil come simply by putting yourself first. We neglect others. We abuse others. We ignore others.
Romans 1:29-32 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We are to take on the mind of Christ and we are to humble ourselves and we are to love and serve others. We are to forgive and to open ourselves up to others. We are to care for the least of these. Our lives are to be characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.
Where does this kind of life come from? It comes from a commitment to the truth and a commitment to learning the truth. Truth is not going to automatically invade your life when you become a Christian. You are going to have to study and learn the truth of God that is found in His Word, the Bible. Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
That is why the church has made such a great commitment to the teaching of the Word of God. We study the Bible constantly: Sunday sermons, Sunday School, discipleship classes, Wednesday nights, all the time. We must make a priority of learning God’s Word.
Think of the Scriptures as an absolutely accurate map. A map tells you how to get to a certain destination. But just looking at a map won’t automatically transport you to Arizona or England or Peru. Getting to those places means you have to make the effort…pay the cost…take the time for travel…stay at it until you arrive. In a word, persevere. So it is in the Christian life. God’s map is reliable and available. It is also clear and direct.
There is no such “instant maturity” available on this earth. God does not offer a formula that produces fully mature Christians overnight. Christian growth comes through hard-core, gutsy perseverance (a forgotten word!) of applying what you hear and obeying it…and thereby learning how to handle those inevitable problems.
How committed are you to the teaching ministry of the church, both to sitting under it and learning from it and taking part in it, teaching others all that you have learned and that they need to know? Both are essential to the success of the church, learning and teaching.
Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, … 20 teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”