No one doubts this is an interesting time in our world. I don't think anyone is arguing about the fact that we are very divided in many ways, but something that has been very interesting to me, and even troubled me, are the amount of Christians that I hear that are quick to give their thoughts or focuses to the many conspiracies and issues of our day.
When we more quickly share the latest gossip or inside scoop on the issues of America on our social media feeds than we share the gospel, then something is clearly wrong in our thinking and our worldview.
The most surprising of all, to me, is seeing Christians that post and talk mostly about what's wrong and what they're not being told, rather than spending time building up the body (1 Thessalonians 5:11) and pointing others to the Truth (John 14:6).
Now, I do not doubt that some things that are being presented in contrast to the mainstream media have some truth to them, but I am concerned for how much I hear from my fellow believers about what they are taking in and focusing on.
What you put into your mind often shapes how you think. And often when we are so quick to controversial things we can think we are being discerning while going down a rabbit trail that can dangerously distract us from Christ and reshape our worldview.
[This is why I think we should be quicker to examine where Paul warned Timothy not to get involved in “foolish, ignorant controversies” (2 Timothy 2:23)].
So many questions come to mind as I hear of people spouting conspiracy theories and stories of evil.
There is no doubt a slew of evil facts and stories out there, but is this really the best for you to take in and spend your time on?
And I ask that, not to tell you to turn a blind eye or to be ignorant of world issues, but rather to ask you to consider what you are putting in your mind and spending your time on.
The words of the Apostle Paul come to mind when he told the church in Rome (in Romans 12:1), "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind..."
This verse has probably been one of the most theorized and philosophized among Bible passages because the question often asked by Christians today is: how are we to be IN the world, but not OF it?
And on this, many have taken extremes, where you have those responding with “don’t be in it at all”. And then others say, “lets be in it, to the greatest degree we can, without sin, so we can show HOW we’re not OF it.”
But, the problem in both of those ideas is what they seek to model.
One is moralism based on personal conviction, and the other is liberalism based on personal freedom. And neither gets it right, because both are ultimately “…conformed to this world.”
Christ calls us to a special kind of non-conformity: a refusal to conform to the sinful patterns of the world, and rather to be conformed to Christ.
And notice that the call is not simply a negative restriction, but also a positive affirmation. Paul says, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
To be transformed means to go above and beyond the forms and structures of this world. That means Christians are called to be light to the world, to be the salt of the earth, to show a more excellent way.
So, this is not as much a call to drop out of society and culture, as it is a call to display a setting apart for something greater, that we have dedicated and devoted our lives to the glory of God.
Understanding these things is incredibly important when it comes to living for Christ. And it challenges us to really consider what consumes our minds and our time, because what we spend the most time on and give the most of our energy to, will ultimately reveal what we trust and love.
So whenever I hear Christians talk of conspiracy or political agendas, I want to ask... does that surprise you?
If it doesn't then why should it consume your time and thoughts?
It should never surprise the Christian that an evil world (in rebellion against a Holy God) is doing evil things. It grieves God (Genesis 6:5-6), but it doesn’t surprise Him or happen outside His plan (Isaiah 45:21, 46:9-10).
The ways of this world are evil and they are opposed to God. This is why Paul is urging the church not to be conformed to it, but to God.
And consider what the application is for the believer.
We are God’s official representatives on earth, those who are believers are those who display the character of God and His gospel. We are those who are set apart and “transformed”.
We are those who have been changed by the gospel, so we submit and surrender ourselves to God “by His mercy”, …as “living sacrifices.” (Romans 12:1)
So the Christian is no longer to live according to the world or as the world lives, but they are to pursue holy living unto the glory of God.
This means that the Christian LOOKS different, LIVES different, and even THINKS different. So, do not be surprised my friends that in Christ we must relearn things.
Our view of the world must be changed. We must learn to think as God thinks (seeking His thoughts), where we begin to see the world as He sees it.
See, if the transformation that God desires to see in us is to be real and lasting, there must be a renewal of the mind, a changing of the heart.
This is why Paul continued in that verse (Romans 12:2) by saying, "that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
In this, Paul gets at the greatest aim and deepest goal in our sanctification—that our minds and hearts would be so renewed by God and His Word, that what God desires for us is what we begin to desire. And what God has commanded is what we are most happy to do.
So again, I am not saying that we should be those that are ignorant of the times, or absent from the issues. What I am saying is that a Christian that has been transformed by the work of Christ, and has a renewed mind, is someone who LOOKS different, LIVES different, and even THINKS different.
In that very chapter, down in verse 9, Paul tells the believers to, “Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.”
The only way to do that is by having a heart and mind that is both transformed and conformed to Christ—where what you desire most, is not the information on the latest conspiracy or agenda but, the truth of the Word that gives life (Hebrews 4:12).
Most of us have heard the old story that a bank teller is not trained to spot counterfeit by studying bills that are fake. This is the same principle for the Christian. If we truly want to know Christ and love Him (because we have been raised with Him), then we have to set our minds on things above (Colossians 3:1-2).
That is my prayer for you because there is no doubt in my mind that we should be wise, seek the will of the Lord, and consider how to live unto Him, because this world and this time carries much evil (Ephesians 5:15-17).
So as you consider what it means to “be transformed” with a “renewed mind”, ask yourself these questions:
I think these are important questions to ask as we are bombarded with all kinds of information.