Romans 12:2 KJV
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:2 NLT
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 learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Happy New Year! A statement many of us have been hearing for the past 8 days. A common expression to wish each person new blessings, new joy, and new prosperity in the new calendar time frame. New means something that has been brought into being. It has never existed again. As we have transitioned into 2014 we are in a time period that has not previously existed. With this new time frame many people create new goals or some may call them resolutions and by now, January 8th, many people have probably fallen off of what they were supposed to be focused on accomplishing. For many others the New Year can be a time of renewal, meaning someone will begin something again, restore, or revive. For example in the New Year start work out routines again, another attempt at managing finances, or another attempt to restore a relationship with Christ. Many people may set out to do what they used to do and once again many will not make it to the end of year accomplishing their goal. Why is that? The calendar changed, but the mind did not.
As I transitioned out of 2013 into 2014 I learned a hard life lesson on renewal. I ended my 2013 the way it started which was in a dark place which transitioned right into 2014. I was so busy dwelling on what didn’t happen and what I wanted to happen that I lost focus. It all bottled up inside and became an explosive situation that I certainly did not plan for nor desire in the New Year. The date on the calendar changed, but my mind had temporarily gone back into a time capsule to the time zone of how I use to be and the error of what hadn’t come. Through prayer and encouragement from others I had to quickly change my thinking and refocus my thoughts so that I could continue into this New Year with a new mind and a right mind and be victorious. Many of us will not finish what we started because we have transitioned into a new year with new goals, but it is partnered with your old way of thinking. You cannot put new wine into old wineskins. (Luke 5:37)
Today our scripture reminds us not to be conformed to the world. Do not align with the practices and behaviors of the world. Do not copy the custom practices of the world. What does that mean? I love watching old television shows. One of my favorite shows is “Good Times”. I remember I was preparing to watch one episode and prior to the episode a warning flashed on the screen “Parental discretion advised.” In that particular episode the theme of the show was focused on a sexually transmitted disease scare by one of the characters. They never named the disease. It was only referred to as “V.D.” or venereal disease. Something we consider an open topic to discuss today was viewed as a major “be careful not to let your kids see this” issue. The television shows did not have curse words back then and if they did they were bleeped out. There was no nudity on television. Fast forward thirty plus years later when we watch television we now see all these things: sex, drugs, cursing, and actual disease names mentioned. The patterns of the world has changed but God is telling us we should not change.
I think about the controversy with the Duck Dynasty star, Phil Robertson, who was suspended for and reprimanded because of his religious beliefs. (NOTE: I do not agree with all of Phil Robertson’s views). What stood out to me the most is due to this man’s religious views he refused to be conformed to the world’s thinking and ways and customs that have been transformed over time. He stood on the word of God that he believed in. The world may change, the calendar may change, but God’s word is the same yesterday, today and forever more.
When it comes to our resolutions so many things can stand in the way of us accomplishing goals: selfishness, double-mindedness, lack of wisdom, lack of confidence, lack of self-control, fear, just to name a few. These are all patterns of the world. “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. “ (Galatians 5:17) The world has one way of thinking and doing things but as Christians we have another way of thinking and ways.
Once we decided not to be conformed to the patterns of the world we have to be renewed in our mind. We have to change the way that we think. How do you change the way you think? By reading and meditating on the word of God, your Bible. What issues do you face today? What goals do you wish to accomplish? Whatever your answer is know that God has a response for it in his word and a promise for you to stand on so that you can be victorious! Remember I said I packed the baggage of old thinking into the New Year. Well this exercise finally hit me. I wrote down my negative thoughts and backed each one up with the word of God. I recalled all of the promises God had spoken to me and refused to allow Satan to attack me in my mind or my personal life. My mind went from “I may not have it right now, but God said I will have it in His appointed time.” My mind went from thinking one way to remembering what God delivered me from and how far he brought me and situations I had been praying about. Satan may have drug me back into dark places and old ways and bondage for a brief moment, but praise God for the wisdom to push through and not remain in that place. The Bible said who the son sets free is truly free indeed and that is what I am choosing to stand on. I am determined to have a New Year with a New Mind!
When your mind is renewed and you know God’s word then you have another promise to stand on. You may prove what is good and acceptable and the perfect will of God. Now back to my original statement. What do you desire to accomplish in 2014? I’m sure you have it written down and tucked away in a safe place. How does what you desire to accomplish line up with the word of God? Is this a desire of God for your life? What promises in the Bible can you find to write down to keep you focused on accomplishing your goals? What caused you not to accomplish your goal in prior years? Did you pause to turn that negative into God’s promise? If you don’t have them find them and tie them to your goals. Meditate on scripture. Remember you have to be transformed and renewed in your thinking. Your mind has to be in subjection to the word of God. When you have your promises to stand on and your mind is renewed, then you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength which includes finding yourself on December 31, 2014 saying “Mission Accomplished!” My prayer for every reader of this word is that you have a VICTORIOUS 2014. Be blessed and be encouraged on today. Happy New Year and new thinking to you!
Heavenly Father I lift up every reader of this word including myself that we are not only readers of your word, but doers of your word. We all have an area of struggle in our life. Give us guidance, wisdom, strength, and discernment to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Mold us, shape us, and transform us into the Christian men and women you desire us to be. Help us to remember we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16) Guide us along the way as we strive to be victorious in our goals and assignments in this New Year. I pray that each reader will be victorious in accomplishing what they have set out to do in 2014 and I pray that by December 31, 2014 we can all shout with victory as we are more than conquerors and we are victorious in you. In Jesus name. Amen
~Written by Felicia McKnight~