Do not conform 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. ~Romans 12:2
Where do I begin? I feel like this is such a heavy topic. It sort of scares me because as I go through this Romans 12 study with Sarah, I realize that it is me that is doing the learning. In the last post Sarah talked about dying to ourselves and handing the steering wheel over to the Lord as proper way to worship.
To be honest, it hit a few nerves on the way down in a way that only the conviction of the Lord can bring about. It felt like a rebuke in my heart. And then as I began to read into the next verse about conformity, I realized that there was something in my life that I was holding on to too.
It was a painful realization for me as I sat back and realized that I was acting out my own will in the form of my nursing studies. I have been trying for years now to complete my study in nursing, to finish with a piece of paper in hand and jump into the work force. I love health care! I love people, and I know in my heart that I would probably be a great nurse. However, aside from this confidence, I know that it has been a difficult run for me. Trying to juggle study and family and children and keep focused on the Lord has not been easy. If anything the studies have distracted me from seeking God as much as I should and it has created chaos in my schedule. It has been a distraction. It has been a distraction to the point that I have chosen nursing over God’s will. I have conformed my thought process to that of the world and convinced myself that my personal value and status would be better if I were a nurse. For me, it felt like that if I had a degree in nursing, and had it RIGHT NOW, that somehow I would be a source of pride for my family and perhaps it would make me feel like I’d done something and I could use it to glorify the Lord through missions or outreach. I never sought the Lord through any of it. I simply jumped in head first with my own ideals and intentions and my own vision for my future and asked God to bless it. I expected him to. The world says if you’re good at it and if you want it bad enough that you can have it whenever you want. You can do it!
So after reading the last post, It felt like I was punched in the stomach because light had been shed into the dark recesses of my heart, the greedy, prideful and impatient parts. I despised the idea that was forming in my head. Let it go…”Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)
After much thought, prayer and counsel….I have dropped this load. I’ve set it down, laid it out before the Lord. I don’t even like writing those words. It hurts and it is not what I would have. It feels like a battle in my heart, and just saying “okay” to God this time is sorrowful and I feel disappointed in myself, like I gave up. But, I know that hearing God’s answer to my question is not an outright “no”, it is a “not right now.”, which bothers me too because I’m impatient. I guess I will just have to look forward and see what the Lord has planned for my life until he decides to open the door fully for me? Or to close it permanently.
Conformity to the world comes in all forms. In our thoughts, in our speech, in our intentions, in our desires, in our hearts. We seek approval by the world, our thoughts reflect the world, our desires are that of the world…we are so influenced that it is hard to stay focused on things that we can’t see.
We can hear bad advice, and our minds will tell us to follow through with it, our mouths can speak rude, hurtful words and lies and we can walk away with a smile our faces because we gave that person what they deserved. Our eyes can tell us that a beautiful, dress with a low cut front is appropriate because our bodies would look nice in it, without consideration for our spouses or members of the opposite sex. Our humour can tell us that a foul and perverse movie is funny when it is merely a showcase for sin. We can be deceived by the enemy in a very swift and cunning manner, and before we know it we can fall.
The bible says “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
Our hearts are not to be trusted because we are human and we are full of beautifully weird ideas that we create for ourselves. We can have the best of intentions, like myself for instance with nursing, yet if it is not God’s will then we are not sowing the crop he would have us sow and we are sowing someone else’s.
Where are you conforming? Do you have things in your life that you think are okay because they are minor and they aren’t hurting anyone? Do you find yourself thinking thoughts in private that are worldly or perhaps unloving?
This time, make another list. In one column write down the things you do in your life that would be acceptable by the world, beside this write out what scripture says about the principles of these things. What does God say about it?
Dig deep,and find someone who you love (a spouse?) and share your entire list. Talk about them with that person and ask them to pray with you and over you. Ask forgiveness from Jesus and pray about where you need to make changes, and what the Lord would have those look like. They might seem huge, and solid…like perhaps you are being held accountable by the world for something? Let it go…nothing in this world is permanent my friend…God loves us without the worldly ways we cling to, He is our vine and we are his branches. If we remain in him, He will remain in us, apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5)
Thank you for being an all knowing Father who knows what hurts us and keeps us safe. Thank you for your discipline, and your Holy Spirit that guides our hearts. I pray that this week those who are laying down their lives for you would be protected in the armour of God. I pray that the belt of truth be placed on with extra security so we may discern your will and guidance verses that of the world and that our enemy, and that of our own desires. Thank you for loving just as we are.
In Jesus Name, Amen