"Do not conform any longer 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)
In Proverbs 23 it says, as a man thinks in his heart so is he ( Proverbs 23:7 ). Our actions are a result of what we think. Intellectually we may believe something to be true, but our real convictions come out our actions. This is why it is so important to renew our minds with word of God. To take the scripture and implant it in our hearts so that it is in alignment with what God has said. If what is in our heart is scripture then we will act based on that belief system.
Peter said, "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires" ( II Peter 1:3-4 ). Everything we need for life and godliness comes through the knowledge of him. In other words, applying the word of God is what affects your life. Life and godliness is a byproduct of knowing God and what he has spoken. This is why Paul said to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. We are so inundated with the world and it's philosophies that it is hard to escape its corruption and not to internalize some of those viewpoints, but through the knowledge of him we are able to escape the corruption in the world because our beliefs are based on his principals.
Jesus said the same thing in John, "you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" ( John 8:32 ). Being free is not automatic, first you must understand that the truth is what makes you free and to be free you have to know what the truth is. Later in John Jesus was praying for his disciples, he said, "Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth" ( John 17:17 ). Sanctification is the process of becoming holy. We are already righteous before God because of Jesus, but sanctification and holiness comes through the knowledge of him ( II Peter 1:3 ). Jesus said "your word is truth" so knowing and understanding God's word is what brings about our sanctification and knowing this truth will set you free.
In Romans 12 Paul urges us to be living sacrifices in view of God's mercy toward us. This is our reasonable worship of the Lord for all that he has done. In today's passage Paul gives us the key to being living sacrifices. "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind ( Romans 12:2 ). Paul uses a very descriptive word picture of this change. First we should not allow ourselves to be poured into the world's mold. This will only cause us to look like the world, to act like the world and to talk like the world. Instead we should be transformed by renewing our minds with what God has said. Imagine a caterpillar as he turns into a butterfly, this transformation is what Paul is talking about. II Corinthians says that in Christ we are a new creation. The old is gone the new has come ( II Corinthians 5:17 ). After we are born again, we still look the same on the outside, but God said we are new creations, completely different and changed on the inside. Renewing our mind to everything God says that we are will transform our lives into the new creation that we are.
This is an amazing truth in scripture, not because this change comes with anything we do but because it comes by knowing God and his word. We can experience effortless change in life simply by renewing our minds to the truth of God's word. As a man thinks in his heart so is he ( Proverbs 23:7 ), when what we think and know is God's word, then it will come out in the way we live. Paul wrote to Timothy that "all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" ( II Timothy 3:16-17 ). The Word is what equipped us and prepares us for this life. We are instructed to know and approve of God's will for us and this comes through renewing our minds to the scripture. But to be effective in our lives it has to be our revelation, our truth, our basis for living.
Today, I am so thankful for the word of God and how its truth has blessed my life. What it says about me is who I am. I am thankful that all things pertaining to life and godliness are mine through the knowledge of God as written in his word. May you understand the importance of the scriptures and apply them to your life, amen.