Greetings In the Name of the Lord:
Romans 12:2 (NLT)
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Believe it or not, there was a time in my life when I thought God’s will for my life was to separate myself from people. Now to those of you who know me well that must seem incomprehensible. However, there are those, and I am not one of them, that God calls to a life of physical separation from the world to devote all of their time and energy to prayer and study of the Word. This monastic lifestyle is a special calling and requires a special grace from God. Yet to the overwhelming majority of us, God has not called to a physical separation but a spiritual one. He has not called to change where we live, but rather how we live. Paul often talks about a separation from this evil age. He tells us not “copy the behavior and customs of this world.” He is not saying that we should hide away from the world, but that our lives are to reflect and follow a higher standard – God’s standard. However, Paul is not the only Biblical writer to express this sentiment. The Apostle John talks about the “world” (the Greek word kosmos) from a negative perspective. He tells us, “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you” (1Jn. 2:15). Again he tells to separate ourselves not from those in the world but from the sinful ways and desires that they crave. This is a concept also seen in the Old Testament as God told the Israelites not to share in the practices of those around them. It says in Lev. 18:2-3, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. I am the LORD your God. 3 So do not act like the people in Egypt, where you used to live, or like the people of Canaan, where I am taking you. You must not imitate their way of life.” Paul tells us the way we do this is not by removing ourselves from the situation, but rather by allowing the Holy Spirit to transform our lives by changing the way we think. This happens not with a change of address, but a change of attitude and perspective. Furthermore, we must understand that this is not an instantaneous, once of all, change, but a “slow continuous work of a lifetime as God’s Spirit changes us in the likeness of Christ” (Mohrlang, 191). This happens as we daily yield to the control of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Just another reason our vision is to “transform lives, one at a time.”