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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

 

This passage offers good news – a two-step formula for knowing God’s will. First, don’t be conformed to the world. Second, be transformed by the renewing of your mind. If you do these simple things you can, “discern the will of God.” Much easier said than done, isn’t it? What does it really mean to “not be conformed” and to “renew the mind”? Well, to quote our pastor, “I’m so glad you asked.”

Paul tells us not to be conformed to the world. There are a set of values and ways of thinking natural to the world – things like revenge, materialism, and the pursuit of power. They may come natural to the world, but they’re not of the Kingdom of God. God’s culture is different. God’s Kingdom is full of counterintuitive design. Commands like: love your enemies (Matthew 5:44), turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39), the first shall be last and the last shall be first (Matthew 20:16), and the weak will be made strong (2 Corinthians 12:9). When Paul tells us not to be conformed to the world he is telling us to relinquish our desires to follow the world’s natural inclinations.

Paul goes on to tell us to “be transformed by renewing our minds.” This is the other side of the same coin. Discerning God’s will takes rewiring our minds to see the world through God’s eyes and requires embracing God’s counter-cultural values. The good news is that this can be extremely practical by using a set of regular practices. Spiritual disciplines are kingdom exercises designed to rewire our souls to the kingdom of God. Practices like prayer, scripture reading, silence, solitude, service, fasting, and more are all tools God gives us to help us renew our minds.

Learning the difference between what the world values and what God values happens when we familiarize ourselves with God’s word. As we learn the teachings of Jesus and learn the explicit commands in Scripture, we begin to learn the character and personality of God. We learn how he would do things if he were in our situations. Saturating your life in the truths of Scripture – especially the life and teachings of Jesus – is key to transformation. Surrounding yourself with others who operate under kingdom values is helpful, too. God’s will is an acquired taste that is learned through exposure to his ways. Today, consider what values you’re following. Are you currently valuing something not within God’s values? Ask God to reveal where you might be aligning with the world’s values over God’s values. Begin by relinquishing your need to follow the way of the world in that area. Then, commit to a spiritual practice that counteracts your false value.[/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”25px” size=”custom”][vc_column_text]

By Aaron Bjorklund 

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