Do not conform 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
I have a friend who taps his foot. Every time he sits down, his foot gets going like Thumper from Bambi. Tables shake, drinks spill, people stare, but still his foot just keeps on a’tappin’—and he remains totally oblivious.
“It just sort of does that,” he’ll shrug and continue the tapping.
My life “taps” in a lot of ways. I’ll go through the motions on an idea without ever really considering the reason why. I’ll watch shows and listen to music without any discernment at all. I’ll find myself quoting things I didn’t know existed in my mind. In short, I’ll operate through life in a rote mode of existence, much like my friend’s finicky foot.
What I’ve found is that it is easy to get locked into a pattern, the same way it is easy to hum while vacuuming. “What were you humming?” my wife will ask. I shrug because I have no idea . . . was I humming?
It is easy to hum along in the pattern of this world—its views becoming our views. I march along to the beat it bangs out, a good soldier in perfect cadence.
But this verse warns of that—Do not conform to the pattern of this world, BUT BE transformed by the renewing of your mind.
I need to test how I am conforming, and, more importantly, to what I am conforming. If I am not basing my worldview on the things of Christ and promises eternal, then what does that say about me and what does it say about my faith?
And it is important, too, to consider that word, “Renewing.” It isn’t a one-time thing.
I recall hearing about some boys many years ago while my family was vacationing on Lake Michigan. The boys were out in the water on a day on which there was a strong undercurrent. This is not problematic as long as one swims with a sense of vigilance. I remember spending several hours out in the water, and simply having to be mindful about the current dragging me south and readjusting accordingly. Many people were out there enjoying the day and, through making constant adjustments, suffering no ill-effects from the current.
But these boys had a raft, and because of the freedom this raft granted them, they paid no attention to fighting the current. They swam far from shore, dragging their raft along, and once out there in the deep waters, they played and floated and even climbed aboard the raft and slept.
When they awoke they swam in toward shore, but couldn’t fight through the undertow to reach land. Also, none of the people were on the beach like they had been at day’s start. The boys yelled and panicked, but there was little else they could do.
Rescuers later fished them from the Lake and informed them that they had traveled nearly seven miles south of where they had begun in just a few hours’ time. Of course, they had no idea they had drifted so far.
And so it is with us. If we do not constantly check where we are and what is pulling on us, it is inevitable that we will drift further and further from the shore of God’s will and God’s Word.
The battle begins in the mind, and we must allow that the battle belongs to the Lord and make every occasion for His victory.