~ 3 Options from Romans 12:1-2 ~
The Christian makes daily choices as to whether he will be transformed into a Christ-like person, conformed into the mold of society around him, or a third option—become deformed!
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2).
Transformed ~ This option is clearly what our Lord desires for us. We are transformed as we study the Word of God, spend in time in prayer, and train ourselves in spiritual disciplines. As we sincerely try to do the will of God, He transforms us.
The Hebrew word translated “transformed” is the same word translated “changed” in 2 Corinthians 3:18. This word is only used twice in Scripture in reference to Christians.
One of the many reasons that consistent transformation is difficult is that, as our passage says, we are “living sacrifices,” we have the ability to keep crawling off the altar.
Jim Elliot, a well-known martyred missionary, wrote: “One does not surrender a life in an instant—that which is lifelong can only be surrendered in a lifetime.”
Conformed ~ A second option comes easily as we “go with the flow” around us and become conformed to the pattern of the world around us. Sadly, this is often the case even within Christian groups. Sometimes this situation exists because there was never a decision to make Jesus Christ the Lord of one’s life. The free gift of salvation was received but then life goes on as if nothing significant happened.
When I was young I often heard someone described as a “spiritual giant.” I believe that is a completely erroneous term. To be transformed is “normal Christianity” as viewed from God’s eyes. To be conformed is “average Christianity” as we view the situation around us in developed countries. In other words, those who are truly transformed are approaching true Christianity and the rest of us are “spiritual pigmies” with regard to our Christian growth.
Deformed ~ The third and final option which is not specifically mentioned in these two verses is not good—we become deformed by trying to be transformed while we are willing to be conformed to the world in areas of our interests. Past generations referred to this a “carnal Christianity”—which is really an oxymoron! Entire local churches can be deformed and such is the case of the Laodicean church in Revelation 3:14-19 which God describes as lukewarm. In a stern warning He says He will spit them out of His mouth.
God grant us all the desire, perseverance, and grace to be transformed into His likeness that we should not be ashamed when He returns for us. Repentance is a requirement for salvation—transformation is our calling!
CONTEMPLATE: If Romans 12:1-2 is true for your heart and you make Proverbs 3:5-6 real in your life and use Colossians 3:17 for every decision, you can be guaranteed a happy, successful, and fruitful Christian life.