Romans 12:1 tells us that we should “present our bodies [as] a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God”. We do this by following the instructions of Romans 12:2:
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 NKJV).
If you missed the post explaining what it means to not conform to the world, you should read that first. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Okay, so let’s talk about the next two steps that explains what it means to live a life that pleases God.
What does it mean to be transformed by the renewing of your mind?
The best way to describe transformation is to imagine a caterpillar changing into a butterfly. That not-so-pretty worm goes through an amazing process that changes it into a beautiful butterfly.
The trick is, the butterfly has to fight its way out of the cocoon. If it doesn’t, it won't fly because its wings will not be strong enough.
Most of the organs of the caterpillar breakdown before the butterfly pushes its way out of the cocoon. We can liken this process to us renewing our mind.
Effort is required.
Dictionary.com defines renew as: 'give fresh life or strength to'. We can’t give “fresh life” to something by doing things the way we have always done them.
Change is required.
It is often said that the mind is the battleground for spiritual warfare. Satan campaigns for supremacy in our thoughts and dominance in our minds. He competes for our attention by throwing pretty, flashy things in our paths. He wants us to crave more and more the things of the world.
Jesus, on the other hand, encourages us to take our burdens to Him and He will give us rest. Not just a temporary break from things. No, Jesus offers us a lifestyle change.
The process of renewing the mind is a radical one. It involves walking away from things – and people - we thought we were permanently attached to. It may involve doing things that scare us to tears.
In this simple phrase, we learn several things about God:
But for me, the most interesting thing in the phrase “prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”, is the word prove.
The original Greek word is dokimazō. It could have been translated:
a) to test, examine, prove, scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals
b) to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy.
But the definition is not what excites me. No, I’m excited about the part of speech. You see, dokimazō is verb. When I confirmed with my son (as if you don’t do it too) – a verb is an action word. That means it’s an action that we’re supposed to take…
God wants us to test Him. He wants to prove to us that His will is perfect.
When it comes to proving the will of God, we have Jesus’ example. Here are three things that He did to confirm that His Father’s will was perfect:
1. He spent time in prayer – the gospel writers are united in this account: Jesus prayed often.
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2. He spent time alone with God – Jesus a lot of time by Himself in communion with His Father. From Him we learn:
3. He studied the Word of God – the Bible gives us no clues as to how Jesus learnt what was written in the Bible as it existed then. But we do know that He was familiar with the law of Moses and the writings of the prophets. From Him we learn that:
While He was on earth, Jesus spent much time in prayer as He eagerly sought to prove the perfect will of God. He was a Bible scholar. He knew what the Word of God said, that’s why He was able to quote it and unlock the meaning to those who were in His presence.
How do we live a life that honors God? We follow the example of Christ.
How are you living a life that pleases God? Share them in the comments below.