"Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly, by a complete change of your mind" (Romans 12:2).
The change we're seeking is huge. We're reading this book because our old way of doing things hasn't brought us the fulfillment we hoped for and we know there must be something more to life than what we've experienced so far.
The world makes it easy for us to stay as we are, without challenging us to become better people. It teaches us to be as comfortable as possible with as little effort as possible, while making ourselves the creators of our own eternal happiness. God tells us here to reject that.
What the world forgets to teach us is that there is a spiritual law to be obeyed, that God comes first. The world says our will should come first. This is more likely to lead us away from God and so God tells us here not to conform ourselves to the world's standards, because these standards are set pretty low and can take us down the wrong path, away from Him.
This scripture tells us that what we need is an overhaul of our old self, to be utterly transformed, to undergo a complete change of our mind, not just a little bit, but to be made brand new.
How does this transformation take place? From the inside out! Let's listen to this scripture again. "Let God transform you inwardly ..." So what do we do? We pray. We ask God for the grace to surrender our lives to Him completely. We open our hearts to the action of The Holy Spirit, who is Love itself. We seek first the kingdom of God, and everything else falls into place.
We stop trying to earn our way, fight our way, or keep our way. We stop trying to be right and we start trying to forgive. We accept that apart from God, on our own, we are nothing. But we also accept that we are not on our own! We have a God who is with us, every step of the way. He doesn't leave our side not even for a second. He Loves us like no other, and we mean everything to Him.
We need God and God knows what we need. He can bring about the change within us that we want. Through prayer, God will help and heal and set our hearts free - but we have to ask for this. This may not come easily for those of us who like to solve our own problems, on our own. Why do we have such a hard time asking for help?
Pride is the culprit here. It's the culprit in opposition to any personal or spiritual growth. Pride says we can do it by ourselves. It says we don't need God and we certainly won't admit our dependence upon God. Many find this a difficult word, but really, dependence on anything other than God would make it a difficult word. We are dependent upon God for our very next breath. Our hearts do not beat because we tell them to. There is a life source sustaining us at every moment. This life source has a name, and He loves you.
With an understanding that we are not alone, that there is a loving God by our side, we can embark upon the journey of changing ourselves with confidence. We can be assured that we will receive grace because scripture has shown that our Creator wants this more than we do.
God wants inner peace for us all, to heal us and make us whole. He wants us to continually improve ourselves, to mature and develop spiritually because He knows where it will lead - to Him. So we can be certain He will help us get there.
In what way have I allowed the world, or things, or even people, to get in the way of my relationship with God?
What standards do I set for myself?
Have I been trying to make changes on the outside in order to achieve peace on the inside?
Am I comfortable asking for help?
Do I feel I need to solve my problems on my own?
Do I see how interconnected we all are, that we need God but we also need one another?
Dear Lord, so many times I have tried to change. I no longer want to try without You. With You by my side I can overcome any fault I have, anything that needs improvement. I want to better myself. I want to be free of the anxieties of life and cope better with situations that are difficult. I ask You humbly now, to grant me a New Way of approaching change since my way doesn't work as well as I'd like. Grant me the grace to embrace the Love you offer me. You are real. You are with me. I am dependent upon You and that's a great place to be. I wouldn't want to be dependent upon anyone or anything else. Who better than Love itself to show me the Way. Please help me in what I know will be a daily struggle to let go of my pride, to let others into my life, and to let Your love into my heart. Please pour out your grace upon me. In Jesus' name. Amen.
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By God's healing grace, we can have a new life ... A New You is waiting!