Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
We are all too familiar with conforming to this world. From childhood on we are taught how to get along with our peers, how to climb the ladder of success, what is expected of us in the society in which we live. As believers we must learn an entirely new set of criteria, based on faith and believing in Jesus Christ. We can be transformed. We can have our minds (thinking) renewed. We can prove to ourselves and know with assurance what the acceptable, perfect will of God in our lives is.
This transformation is an ongoing process. We must learn to hear the voice of the Spirit within, and then be obedient to what we hear. At the same time we must put down our flesh, and die to our own carnal reasoning, wants and desires. This is a spiritual process, and can only be accomplished as we submit to God. We cannot bring any transformation about by our own strenuous efforts; it is all the work of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes it is easier to comply when we have a little better understanding of what the process involves. This process happens within our hearts, and is then manifest outwardly. It is brought about as we submit to the Holy Spirit.
Man attempts to meet the criteria set forth in God's Word by altering their outward appearance and actions. Changing the way they dress or speak, trying to look or sound holy, is superficial. Within they can still be full of malice, lust, pride and every evil thing. This carnal attempt to achieve righteousness is widely practiced in today's world, and those who practice it deceive many.
The problem lies in failing to discern that it is impossible for us to accomplish "spiritual things" through the arm of the flesh.
Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
John 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.
We must understand that our flesh is always going to be at enmity against our spirit. Our flesh is the avenue by which the enemy can attack us. Just as he tempted Jesus in the wilderness, his avenue of attack is always through the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. When our flesh is in submission to our spirit, there is no avenue of attack. Notice what Jesus did when he appeared to the disciples after his resurrection.
He breathed on them (imparted Spirit unto them). God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in Spirit and in truth. The only way we can commune with God is by our Spirit. Our body will return to dust; while our spirit will live for eternity. The Words that Jesus spoke are Spirit and they are Life. As we accept, absorb and believe all that Jesus said, His life is imparted into us. God said in 1 Samuel "obedience is better than sacrifice." Jesus said, "Those that love me will keep my commandments." Obedience is a form of worship. May we not be guilty of the same thing that Cain did, offering an unacceptable sacrifice. May we be fully aware of what Paul meant in Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (form of worship). We become a living sacrifice as we walk in the Spirit rather than from our flesh. We become transformed, as we believe the Words that Jesus said above the clamor of our reasoning mind.
Many begin this journey only to quit when they encounter opposition. We must accept that we are called to follow the example set by our Lord. Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. We too must suffer many things if we would come to spiritual perfection. 1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you. If we would try to preserve our flesh; to avoid any kind of suffering; we will never be changed. Suffering brings perfection. As Peter stated above, as we endure whatever suffering has been appointed for us to experience, we will come through stronger, securely established in the knowledge of God.
The beginning of our transformation (from a self centered individual to a God centered individual) is grounded in our love for God. Man's focus has long been centered on God's love for us; what we can get from God. It is important for us to reciprocate God's love, by loving Him in return. As we focus more and more on how we can love God; we will draw ever closer to Him in an ever more intimate relationship. The simplicity of this is that all we have to do is love and obey. Not putting our trust in man or material things, but resting in a personal knowledge of God's love. The more real God becomes to us, the easier it is to obey. The things of the Spirit will become more of a reality in our lives than this physical world we live in. Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. This is what we are saved for!
Haven't we spent enough of our lives conforming to the world; trying to please men? The Amplified translation for Ephesians 4:13-15, [That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that we might arrive at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ's own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him. So then, we may no longer be children, tossed [like ships] to and fro between chance gusts of teaching and wavering with every changing wind of doctrine, [the prey of] cunning and cleverness of unscrupulous men, [gamblers engaged] in every shifting form of trickery in inventing errors to mislead. Rather, let our lives lovingly express truth [in all things, speaking truly, living truly]. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head, [even] Christ(the Messiah, the Anointed One).
If we will seek to know God with all our heart, we will know the truth and we will be set free. So the choice lies with each one of us. Do we love God, or are we only willing to believe that God loves us? Do we want to continue conforming to this world, or do we want to be transformed into the image of Christ?
John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.