16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Transformation is a tricky thing. We all desire it, and yet it is hard to come by. Studies have shown that about 60% of us have made New Year’s Resolutions this year. We love books that promise “Your Best Year Ever!” and TV shows that highlight radical transformation such as home remodeling and weight loss. There is even a show about weight loss for pets! We can’t get enough! And yet, when it comes to our own lives, we often struggle to see real, consistent transformation. Only 9% of people report feeling successful in achieving their resolutions. Why is that?
In Romans 12:2, Paul writes, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind….” This seems pretty straightforward, but what does this look like in our lives practically? I think consistency and intentionality are two keys that Paul is stressing here. We must continually strive to renew our mind. Renewed actions will follow a renewed mind. Transformation is a process that does not happen overnight. We must be willing to put in the hard work, always relying on God’s strength.
In Romans 12:2, Paul sets up the contrast of being conformed to the pattern of the world and being transformed by the renewing our mind. Conforming is easy. When we fail to be intentional, we easily slip into comparing with others, controlling our lives on our own strength, complaining constantly, and more. Instead, Paul calls us to be transformed. We consistently renew our minds when we embrace 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” These seem impossible at first glance, yet they are made possible with the right perspective. When we fix our eyes on Jesus, reflecting on God’s mercies in our lives, we find the ability to live out these three ‘transforming patterns.’ We won’t be perfect, but we find hope in knowing our identity is secure in Christ. What would it look like for you to incorporate the three patterns from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 in your everyday life? Could you begin a gratitude or prayer journal? Today, reflect on one pattern you could implement in 2018 to experience a fresh renewal of your mind and real transformation in your life.
By Billy Berglund