Paul told the Christ-followers in Rome that they needed a change of mind. He said, in essence, “Look, you can be guided by the world’s thinking. Or you can be guided by God and His Truth. But it is going to take you choosing to pop out of the mold that the world is trying to squeeze you into and, instead, letting your thinking – and therefore your actions – be transformed by God renewing your mind. And, by the way, this is a process – not a one-shot deal. “
That is the Kathy-phrase of this:
Romans 12:2 (AMP)
And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].
Simply reading a list biblical Truth won’t renew your mind. Instead, you have to choose to live by Truth daily. When Truth changes your behavior, you are living Romans 12:2. Because, let’s face it: anyone can say these things. The “proving” comes every day of the week, in every place you find your feet.
Ten Truths That WILL Change Your Life:
1. The Word of God is Truth. Period.
Practically Speaking: When I come to a point where God’s Word says one thing and the “experts” say another, I choose to go with God’s Word. Even when I have to go on faith without “empirical data”. His Word has withstood many tests through the annals of time. Don’t check your brain at the door when you read it. Instead, get the tools you need to really be able to sink your teeth into it. But you can always, always trust it to hold true.
2. There is one God, and One Way to Him.
Practically Speaking: Sincere Belief = Truth is bunk. I can sincerely believe that I was hatched from an egg, but that doesn’t make it true. In an effort to not offend man, we have offended God by diminishing Him to one of many options. Jesus himself said that He is The Way to the Father. Who am I to argue with Him? (See Number 1.)
3. Because God is the Creator, He gets to set the rules. Not me. Not my culture. Not the government. Not my pastor or my parents.
Practically Speaking: All of those things – me, culture, government, the church and the family – they are all creations. God has ordained three of them – the government, the Church and the family – to govern us. But He is the ultimate decider of all things because He is the Creator of all things.
4. Everything I own or have is on loan from God. I am not the owner; I am the caretaker of it.
Practically Speaking: This is incredibly freeing! I want to be a good caretaker, or steward, of all God has entrusted to me, whether that is people, animals or stuff. But I am not the bottom line in caring for them. God is. I do the very best I can, but the results are on Him, not me. It is also freeing to know that I can freely give away what He has given to me, whether that is time, talent or treasure. He is the Source of all of those and I cannot out-give Him. Of course, He has guidelines for how to best steward all of those. But I am not the provider of anything for anyone; God is.
5. There are exactly two things on this earth that will live forever: people and The Word of God. Everything else is temporary and will one day burn.
Practically Speaking: See above! I love my cats. I love my house and the way it is decorated. I love my family. All of those “loves” are different. And we get it badly wrong when we mix them up. I will be devastated when my cats die. They are like family to me. But they are not eternal. And therefore, I do not love them like I love the people in my life. Same thing with stuff. It will all burn. So I will take care of it while I have it. But I will not let it own me, my time or my thoughts. Instead, I will make people and the Word of God my top priorities. Everything else is icing!
6. All people have one of two destinies.
Practically Speaking: The Bible is very clear: the entire world is divided into two camps. Not by skin color, socio-economic status, or gender. Not by “good” and “bad”. The division is “in Christ” or “without Christ”. Those who are “in Christ” – who have accepted that they are sinners and He is THE Savior – will live forever with God. The Bible calls that heaven. And those who are “without Christ” have said, “Nope, God, I’ve got this. Don’t need you. I am trusting in ____, instead.” The Bible is clear that God will ultimately not force anyone to choose eternity with Him, or eternal life. So, at the end of this earthly life, He will grant their will to those who chose to be without Him. The Bible calls that Christ-less eternity hell, or eternal death. Every person you meet is bound for one of these two places. The job of a Christ-follower is to tell those who are bound for a Christ-less eternity how they can change that, using words as necessary.
7. My body is the temple of God.
Practically Speaking: Go to Exodus and read the description of the Tabernacle, the movable worship site for Israel. Or go to First Kings and read the description of the first temple. Then fathom that Paul told the church at Corinth that our bodies are now the Temple of God because we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us as believers. God doesn’t make junk – and He also expects His stuff to be treated well. “Well” can be a list of things I won’t do – or a list of things I will do. But either way, my body matters to God. My soul matters more, because it is eternal. But don’t “toss the baby with the bathwater” and think that you can do to your body whatever you please.
8. My days were numbered before one of them came to be.
Practically Speaking: Temples wear out. Or sometimes they are destroyed suddenly. The same is true of my body. I can be a good steward of it – but ultimately, God gets to decide when this structure goes into the earth and my soul goes to be with Him. So frantically rushing around trying to extend the time this body lives is foolish and near-sighted. Treating it well is honoring to God. Swinging to either extreme – caring too much about it or not caring enough – is idolatry.
9. I have one true enemy. But the war has already been won – and we win!
Practically Speaking: Satan was defeated at the cross and the empty tomb. A time is coming when he will be bound and thrown into the pit of fire for all eternity. But in the meantime, he wages war to see how many casualties he can create. There are two types: the ones he deceives into never believing and the ones who believe but never live the “abundant life” God desires for them. The first are destined for hell. The second are destined to purposelessness on this earth as well as a loss of the incredible joy that comes from whole-hearted obedience. I do not have to fear Satan – but I do need to be aware of his schemes and use the armor I have been given by God to thwart them.
10. My value has nothing to do with me. Therefore, I can do nothing to increase or decrease it. Nothing.
Practically Speaking: My life is not a frantic search for meaning, value or love. It is not me gritting my teeth and doing the right things in hopes that God notices or that it somehow goes on the good side of the column. Nor is it me blowing a trumpet and saying, “Look how good I am!” I am deeply, profoundly, scandalously flawed. But I am also deeply, profoundly, scandalously loved. The good I do is an overflow, the outpouring of the love and grace I have been given. As Michael Card sings, God “cannot love you more and He will not love you less”. You can’t change God’s love for you because you didn’t start it and you cannot end it.
So every bit of my list is based in Scripture. If you are curious to know where, let me know and I will be happy to share references so you can look these up for yourself. My prayer for both of us is that we will allow God’s Word to renew our minds and transform our thinking, today and daily!