Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2 (ESV)
Today we bid a fond farewell to 2014. For some of us, “goodbye” seems not quite as fitting as “good riddance.” However this past year went down for you, the New Year always springs forth with hope – a clean slate, a chance to afresh, a whole new year ahead, brimming with promise.
Many people will make New Year’s resolutions. Most will not keep them, either because they planned no follow through on setting their goals, or they’re waiting for a genie to pop out of a bottle and fulfill their wishes. Perhaps we approach the idea of change all wrong.
We all have aspects of our lives and ourselves that we want – need – to change. But before we change our behavioral patterns, we have to first change our thought patterns. We have to change how we view the world around us, other people, ourselves. (When the Bible says we are to love others as ourselves, it is not a prescription for self loathing. The Lord is telling us to love others just as much!)
Romans 12 lays out a great set of parameters for a transformational New Year’s resolution: to truly live out what it means to follow Christ. But, before we can do that, we have to change our thinking – “renew our minds” – and be transformed (literally metamorphosed) from conformity to the world’s ways of thinking and acting to God’s will and ways.
It isn’t easy. Be ready to face opposition. Be prepared to be tempted. But be strong in the Lord. Commit to Him and keep following His Word. Trust in the Lord. Stay in Scripture every day and, as Paul says, pray without ceasing. Love others first. Accept God’s grace. Quit beating yourself up. Stop trying to change everything by your own power then feeling defeated.
2015 is upon us. Ring out the old, ring in the new! Take some time to prayerfully read Romans 12 and make a commitment to change. You are not the one doing the transforming. God is. But, we are called to be faithful in doing what the Lord calls each of us to do. So keep on truckin’. Keep following Jesus. Trust Him, follow Him, seek Him, watch for Him. Don’t worry about the results. That’s God’s department.
Have a blessed and wonderful New Year!