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Tuesday, February 3, 2015
"The Pattern Of This World"
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"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--His good, pleasing and perfect will" (Romans 12:2).
Yesterday we shared a message about the detailed pattern that the Lord gave Moses concerning the Tabernacle and the good report regarding the Israelite's obedience as recorded in the Book of Exodus. This fundamental teaching reminds us that God is pleased and honored when we follow the pattern for living as set forth in the Holy Scriptures for His people.
But in opposition to this pattern for living as set forth by God is "the pattern of this world".
Other versions translate this phrase thusly: JB Phillips: "Stop being poured into the mold by the external and fleeting fashions of this age, but undergo a deep inner change by the qualitative renewing of your mind." The NLT states, "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 know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is." A listing of this verse in many English translations is here.
Paul Fritz observes, "There is always a danger of giving in to the temptations of the world to just feel like being “normal” in our modern society. Today it is easier to try to fit in, blend in and give in to the popular trends in the world rather than to live by Biblical principles. We are faced with a choice today. We can either decide to give in to the patterns of self-indulgence, carnality and selfishness or we choose to prosper by obeying God’s Word."
We have a responsibility in not conforming any longer to the pattern of this world and in renewing our minds. This transformation is not for a short season, but a lifelong commission. We are being transformed and it seems that this phase will not be complete until the next stage of our existence, when we go to heaven.
Bible teacher J.C. Philpot who lived in the 1800's writes, "In proportion as we are conformed to the spirit of this world, our understanding becomes dull in the things of God, our affections cold and torpid, and our consciences less tender and sensitive."
Today's text is one of the very first Scriptures I put to memory in my early days of walking with Christ. In fact I recall when I was in High School an older mentor named Dave sat down with me in a restaurant in Independence Missouri. He taught from this verse using a paper napkin with the outline of a head. Dave described how in our sinful nature we had been conformed to the pattern of this world with a variety of clutter that fills our minds with the pattern of this world.
He stressed how we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds and he shared various means through which our mind is renewed.
The struggle is ever before us as the tempter never fully leaves us alone no matter how much transformation takes place or how long we've walked with God. Bad habits visible to others may be broken but dealing with inner attitudes can even be more difficult, those attitudes we don't want others to see. Yet the transforming of the Spirit must take place within and without, for "everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account" (Hebrews 4:13). Perhaps this is a silly analogy but it's a little like the particles of dust that fall invisibly through the air. It's quite invisible till it coats our furniture, our counters, anything out in the open. A daily dusting will keep others from being able to write a message with their finger in our accumulation of dust. A daily time spent with God will keep our accounts short and sins in check.
We must daily come before the throne of God, confess our sins, acknowledge our weaknesses, and ask His help to keep us from sinning. We can align our desires with His by drawing near to Him daily as James 4:8 tells us, "If we draw near to Him He will draw near to us."
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we invite the work of Your Holy Spirit to descend upon our heart, to wean it from ungodly attitudes, destructive habits, and worldly passions. In love and compassion You stooped to our weakness, mighty as You are, in the person of Jesus Christ who lived a life of holiness, and willingly laid down His life that we might be forgiven, that our hearts and minds might break conformity from this world and be transformed into the pattern of holy living. As we surrender our heart, soul, and mind to You we see the cross of Jesus, and as we cling to His cross we deny ourselves, take up our own cross, and follow in His footsteps wholeheartedly. We thank You for the wooing of Your Holy Spirit that assists and encourages us as we withdraw our allegiance from the affections of this world. It's through the power of Christ that we are able to make this mighty, eternal transformation. Amen.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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