april 24, 2023

“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

I love to ride, I love to ride just for the sake of riding.  Nothing clears my mind and gives me that much needed mental break than putting a few, or a few hundred, miles on with no specific destination in mind.  Just riding and enjoying the experience.  Something I have learned over the years is the way in which many of us somehow manage to conform in so many ways with the group that we ride with the most.  We pick up each others habits, manner of dress, among other things.  I’m not saying this is a bad thing, not at all, it is just the natural order of things.  We spend enough time with someone, we start to rub off on each other.  

Recently, I have had a few good laughs, at my own expense because of the motorcycle that I now ride.  Just last summer, I traded to a Street Glide.  It was on the showroom floor, it was in my price range, and it was well maintained.  So I brought it home.  Oh, I should probably mention that this particular Street Glide is black.  At the time, I didn’t think much about it, I loved the way it looked.  It wasn’t until a few months later that I started coming across jokes and memes about all Street Glides being black.  One of my favorites shows a woman holding back tears and the caption reads, “we tried to leave an hour ago but he couldn’t tell which black street glide was his.”  Don’t get me wrong, I truly love my motorcycle and I love the way it looks, but I had, unintentionally fallen into a level of conformity with, it would seem, every other Street Glide owner out there.  Just this weekend, at the campground where we were staying, there were several motorcycles to be found.  There was a Street Glide in the site across from us, there was a Street Glide two sites down from us, and I did see one other Street Glide ride out this morning.  Guess what?  They were all black and as I laughed about it to myself, this devotion started to take shape in my mind.

As I mentioned earlier, we often find ourselves picking up the habits and mannerisms of people we are around the most.  There is nothing wrong with this, but when it comes to our faith, we are called to stand out, to be different.  But we must be careful not to think that these means we are to separate ourselves from the world.  Let’s look at the focus verse again for this week.

“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

It’s pretty clear, reading Paul’s words, just what is expected of us.  We are not to be conformed to the world, meaning we are not to let the ways of the world, the sins that plague the world, shape who we are and we are not to subject ourselves to the potential to fall into those traps of sin that surround us every day of our lives.  Look at what Paul writes in the 8th chapter of Romans:

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot.”

-Romans 8:5-7

 The ways of the world are in direct rebellion against God.  Therefore, we must be transformed by the gift of salvation.  Paul mentions that we are to be transformed by the renewal of our mind.  This means that we, as Christians, must think differently, we must view things from a different perspective.  When we present ourselves as a living sacrifice, and we experience true salvation we begin to focus on God’s will and less on our own will, it is a transformative process.  We can discern what is good and perfect.  But here is something that is really cool about this transformation, it is outwardly exhibited to those around us and they, in turn, are influenced by what they observe and see in us.  

We are still a part of this world, but we are called to influence the world around us, not to let the world around us influence us.  Just as it was spoken by Christ to His disciples:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

-Matthew 28:19-20

We, first must be transformed, and then we go out and lead others to Christ so that they too may be transformed by His gift of grace and eternal life.  Eventually, we will all ride black Street Glides.

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