Thursday, January 27, 2011

To Whom Are You Listening?

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].  -- Romans 12:2 (Amplified Bible)

Societal and cultural norms, media influence, peer concerns and expectations all lean a heavy weight against the wall of our personhood.  How we're doing is put up against the measuring stick of our material possessions and whether we're staying out of friends' and neighbors' gossip mill.  Paul writes that we should not allow these things to shape us.  Yet, it's probably the case that a goodly share of the anxiety and troubles we bear arise fundamentally out of worry over external opinions and fears of others' supposed judgments and even threats.

So Paul says the counterbalance to this pressure to conform is by transforming and renewing our minds.  I like how the Amplified Bible includes in parentheses:  " that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good...will of God."   Each of our unique and deeply personal walks with God should be the central measuring stick of how we're doing.  Nobody can live in your shoes, or know what it is like to be you - except God.  In THAT most sacred relationship there is a deep understanding that transcends everyone's idea of who or what you are.

God has a good, accepting, and perfect will for each of us.  Broadly and generally stated it is that we feel loved and accepted by Him first and let the rest of the world take a flippin' leap.  The deeper details of that will for us can only be discovered and realized through time with God.  We renew and transform our minds (and attitudes) only if we spend the time in meditation, reflection, study, and prayer.  Only through that can the relationship with God reveal specifics for what we should and can be doing on the more practical levels of daily living.  Through your own personal relationship with God then, be released from all of the external demands and live your life through Christ.

Dear Lord, help us shed the weight of all the external influences.  Help us find the time to dwell with You and soak us in your healing presence.  Amen.

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