Have you ever bought furniture that you’ve had to assemble by yourself? I have and I even enjoy it a little.
But, I know people who hate putting things together. They say that they can never understand the directions.
The fact is that all of these things come with detailed instructions. If you can understand them AND if you follow them – step by step – you’ll end up with a beautiful piece of furniture.
I’ve also known people who ignore the instructions. They go right to work assembling things based upon the picture on the box. More often than not they end up in trouble.
So why am I talking about furniture? Because it actually has a lot to do with our Christian walk.
As we continue our study through the book of Romans, Paul is reviewing his teaching on the walk of righteousness. He wants us to know that to get the right results, we need to do it God’s way. That’s the only way to a life that’s well-pleasing to the Lord.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Paul tells his readers in this letter not to conform any longer to the pattern of this world. In many instances, life is all about conforming to a pattern. The world has a pattern of living.
There are socially accepted ways of putting your life together. As we grow and mature, we learn and incorporate these patterns into our lives. At some point we’re seen as an accepted member of the culture we’re a part of.
The challenge arises when we come to Christ. When Jesus becomes our Lord and Savior, we enter a new Kingdom. We are now part of a new culture; a new society. There must, therefore, be a new pattern to shape our lives around.
The unfortunate thing is that many believers try to serve Christ while living according to this world’s pattern. When that happens, we have a life where we see the promises God holds out to us. Yet, we never seem to lay hold of the realities. It’s a very frustrating way to live.
What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:13
It all has to do with our teaching. In the modern church we tend to do more teaching on doctrines than on patterns of living. What we end up with are believers who know the teachings of Christ and the apostles, yet never experience the true culture of Christ.
That’s why Paul deals with the practicalities of the Christian life. In the first eight chapters, he tells us how to live according to the spirit. He also shows us why it’s so important to live that way.
In this chapter he’s preparing to show us what this kind of life looks like. The problem is that many believers try to do what Paul talks about in this section, without first building the pattern of a spiritual walk. That only bring frustration and failure.
We need the spiritual transformation process if we’re going to see God’s will accomplished in us. As I’ve said before, prayer in the spirit has a huge role to play in renewing and transforming our thinking.
Question: What do you think are the differences between the pattern of the world and the pattern of Christ?
© 2021 Nick Zaccardi