“Be not conformed to 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.” Romans 12:2
This popular verse is often quoted by Christians. But we often neglect to pause and reflect on how it applies to our lives. The meaning of Romans 12:2 is incredibly practical and gives us a firm foundation for us to grow our faith.
There’s some powerful truth in the Romans 12:2 meaning that we need today. In this blog post, we are going to dive into what it means to “be not conformed to this world” and rather “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
The Context Of Romans 12:2
To better understand the meaning of Romans 12:2 we need to take a look at the context in which it was written.
Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, given God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”
Whenever you see a “therefore” in the Bible you need to ask what it’s there for. It’s often there to make an important point that we need to lean into. In this case, Paul is concluding all that he has presented so far in Romans. Romans 3:20, 5:1, 8:1, and others all lead us to the “therefore” in Romans 12:1.
In other words, when Paul tells us to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice we shouldn’t view that in a vacuum. He’s arguing it’s the only reasonable thing to do because of what God has done.
When we ignore this context, Romans 12:2 can seem like a steep ask. But Paul’s not telling us to do this so that we can earn something, but rather we should do this in response to ALL that God has done for us.
Romans 12:1 talks about committing to God and Romans 12:2 is about living it out.
The Romans 12:2 Meaning
Now that we know more of the context of this verse I want to break down this verse down so that we can better understand the meaning of Romans 12:2.
Do Not Be Conformed To This World Meaning
Roman 12:2 reveals an important truth, the world is seeking to mold us and conform us to its image. The problem is the world is broken and if we are made in its image we too will find ourselves broken.
Paul is challenging his readers to view things through a godly lens and not a worldly lens. To be not conformed to this world means that followers of Jesus need to be on constant guard against being conformed to this world.
We should be careful here. While we are called to not be of the world or conform to it, we are called to be in the world. Many Christians have completely withdrawn from the world. But that’s not what Paul is trying to communicate here. We should not withdraw from the world. Rather, we should not be conformed to it.
After all, we are supposed to be a light for the world which is hard to do when we won’t go anywhere near it.
But Be Transformed By The Renewing Of Your Mind Meaning
Here’s the contrast, instead of being conformed to this world, we ought to be transformed by the renewing of our mind.
This idea of being renewed is not a one-time event, rather it’s something we need to continually do. The world is not going to stop confirming us to its liking, therefore we need to constantly renew our minds.
To renew our minds means that we need to stay connected to God and remind ourselves of God’s truth. When you find yourself drifting towards what the world says is best to renew your mind, remind yourself of God’s truth.
When you sin, repent (return to God) and step back into the life that God has for you. This is a lifelong process. And if we continually do this our thinking will resemble God’s more and more. We will become more like Christ.
Then You Will Be Able To Test And Approve God’s Will Meaning
If we do not conform to the world and renew our minds the result will be that we will be able to test and approve God’s will.
To “test and approve” means that we will be able to do what God says is best while rejecting the lies of this world. We will be able to see where the good life is truly found. Not in what the world has to offer, but rather in God.
Think of this like a filter. As we go through the world we will be bombarded with its messages and wisdom. When we follow this passage will be able to sort through what is true and reject what is not.
This is how we can be in the world, but not of it. We ought not to be afraid to be in the world when we are in a constant state of renewing our minds and testing what is true. When we do this the evil of this world will not affect us. Instead, we will be able to see it as God does.
How Romans 12:2 Applies To Your Life
The meaning of Romans 12:2 is incredibly practical. It shows us how we can faithfully follow God and discover the peace and joy he has for us.
Let me end by giving you two ways you can apply Romans 12:2 to your life.
1. Who’s Influencing You?
Romans 12:2 challenges us to pay attention to what we allow to influence our lives and decisions. Every Christian should take inventory of their beliefs and see if they are rooted in God’s word or cultural wisdom.
Jesus wants for us to have the abundant life. He will direct us and point us to life-giving ways to live. The world on the other hand doesn’t always have our best interests in mind. Therefore we should continually check our beliefs and see who we are allowing to influence our lives.
The best way to do this is to develop a habit of studying God’s word. This leads us to the next point.
2. Invest In Your Relationship With God
There is simply no better way to grow your faith and renew your mind than spending time with God. This is what Jesus modeled for us, he continually spent time with his father. And we should do the same, and I’d bet you’d be surprised at how a little bit of time each day can make a huge impact over time.
Start allowing God to direct you and renew your mind. Build some faith-building habits that you can do each day.
If you are struggling with developing this habit I HIGHLY recommend checking out Mark Moore’s Core 52: Core 52: A Fifteen-Minute Daily Guide to Build Your Bible IQ in a Year
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