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.
In Romans 12:2 Paul tells the church at Rome to not be conformed to the world. The Greek word for “conformed” is an interesting one. It’s “syschēmatizō” and where we get the word “schematic” or a pattern, and it means “to be fashioned into.” So Paul is saying we’re not to be fashioned or patterned after the world because we are not really of this world. The word “conformed” is a compound word meaning “with” (con) “pressure” (formed). It has the idea of a person applying pressure to a clay figure and forming it into the image that he or she desires. Some translations say, “Do not be squeezed into the mold of the world.” That’s what the world tends to do; this is called “peer pressure.” We humans like to fit in. We don’t like to be different. We like to be the way the world is so that we’ll not be objects of scorn or ridicule. Even so, the world is shaping us or forming us all, believers included, into its own image. It’s almost without our even knowing it, but we must resist it at every turn.
One way to resist being conformed or squeezed and shaped into the world’s image is to be transformed by the renewing or regeneration of our minds. To be transformed is what the Greek word “metamorphoō” suggests, which means “change into another form, to transform, to transfigure,” and interestingly is the very same word used when Jesus was transfigured on the mount where Peter, James, and John saw the Shekinah glory of Christ. The Greek word “metamorphoō” is where we get our word “metamorphosis,” which is what happens to a caterpillar that changes within the cocoon into an entirely new life form: a butterfly. This “renewing” of the mind (Greek “anakainōsis”) means a “complete renewal, renovation, complete change for the better.” So we are to be changed into another form, into a new form, and it’s to be for the better, in the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Influencing or Being Influenced
When we are born again, we have new minds with new attitudes (Ephesians 4:23), strive to please God more than ourselves (Ephesians 5:10), and have put on a completely new self, which is being renewed in knowledge and into the image of the Creator (Colossians 3:10). This rebirth is done by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5), which is why we don’t conform ourselves to as many evil desires as we used to (1 Peter 1:14). If this is not happening to you, then ask yourself if you’re influencing the world or if the world’s influencing you.
A Closing Prayer
Father, You alone can change my heart and give me a new one by taking out the old stony heart. I needed heart surgery, and I need to be influencing the world for You and not letting the world influence me. Only by the power of Your Spirit can I do that, and that’s what I pray for in Jesus’ great name.
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