Romans 12:2 states, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
The world has a pattern that we are not to conform to any longer. Instead, we are to become transformed in the renewing of our mind. How does this happen?
First, we need to pray that God would transform us. Remember: we are looking to embody the fruits of the Spirit and the attitude of Christ. We’re not going to do that apart from the Spirit and Christ. Therefore, we need to pray that God would do a transforming work within us.
Second, we need to act. God can’t do much if we’re not giving it our best shot as well. That involves doing good things: reading Scripture, spending time with Christian friends, praising and worshiping God. And it also means not doing bad things: watching immoral movies and TV programs, reading inappropriate books and magazines, listening to music that contradicts God’s values.
You might think of it this way: before you were a Christian, you were bound by chains that were loaded down with heavy iron weights. When you became a Christian, you were given the key to every lock on every chain … but you do have to choose to unlock them and put them aside.
Suppose you joyfully get rid of nine out of the ten chains that weighed you down. You feel great! So much lighter! But as you run in the race, you find that you’re always dragging, getting tired and worn out so quickly.
Is it any wonder why? No Olympian is going to run a marathon with a thirty pound weight attached to his foot. Neither can you. That’s what sin does to us. We may have gotten rid of 90% of the sins that weigh us down – but as long as we don’t get rid of the remaining ones, we’re not going to be able to run the race to the best of our ability.
We need to be transformed in the renewing of our mind. And to be renewed, we have to get rid of the old dead sins that are dragging at us. All of them. Be ruthless with the sin in your life: get rid of it. Don’t pollute your mind with movies that are full of sex and violence. Don’t think that “a little pornography won’t hurt.” Don’t pretend that workaholism won’t destroy your relationships. Don’t assume that a small dark closet full of sin won’t infect the rest of your life.
Be renewed. Get in the Word and get in prayer. Do what you need to do to get rid of sin, and know that God will take care of the rest – then you’ll be able to run the race without any weights dragging you down!