In This World, But Not of This World
“I just want to follow God’s will for my life,” said every Christian ever.
Romans 12:2 states,
“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.”
This verse is pure gold for the performance-based Christian, also known as Baby Kendra. Being a true Awana’s kid, this passage of Scripture served as a foundational component of my faith for several years. It is what led me to a childhood of Narnia versus Hogwarts, Amy Grant versus Amy Winehouse, and Plus One versus Backstreet Boys.
It was simple—the holier I lived, the easier God’s will for my life would be to discover.
When used incorrectly, I’ve seen this passage polarize believers from the very people they are called to serve, Baby Kendra included. Oddly enough, this verse has much less to do with the removal of culture and much more to do with the accruing of wisdom. I’m not suggesting that you spend countless hours indulging in things that negatively effect you just to be a better witness, but I am saying that it goes deeper than blacklisting all things “evil.”
Why would God directly highlight the mind as being key to unlocking His will for our lives?
Perhaps because it is most susceptible to the world’s logic, making it incredibly difficult to separate foolishness from faith—providing the perfect distraction to discovering the will of God. No one wants to be depicted as a fool. It is much easier to abstain from seeing a dirty movie than it is having to address why I believe that benefits and salary are what make up an ideal vocation.
God doesn’t want me to starve, right? Right. (There’s that nasty logic again.)
The reality is that I am much more comfortable closing my eyes during a sex scene than I am having a conversation about why my resume looks like a choose-your-own-adventure book. Pursuing purity is honorable, even to the unbeliever; but pursuing God’s plan when it doesn’t make logical sense to other people is much harder to defend.
I truly believe that every position I’ve held in the past has equipped me for what God is doing both now and in what is to come. But that line of thinking lands me directly in the Millennial category, making me appear foolish and noncommittal.
So instead of standing firm in knowing that God has called me to a variety of different things over the last few years, I hide behind the worldly concept that I’m just in the “figuring it out” phase. Because somehow that is more palatable than claiming it was radical obedience.
We are so afraid to remain strong in what God is doing because it often appears weak in accordance with worldly intellect. God asks us to surrender our mind, because when we do, He utilizes our difference to promote His glory.
1 Corinthians 1:26-27 says,
“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”
It isn’t just about what you are choosing to abstain from, but what you are choosing to live for.
That is when it gets truly sticky, because it often requires us to lay down our pride in the process. I cannot tell you how much worldly gunk flows freely from my mouth on a daily basis. Having to separate it out, and seek His logic above my own is not only frustrating at times, but incredibly inconvenient. All I want is to appear wise to those that want what is best for me, so I try to rehearse the most logical explanation of what God is asking me to do.
The truth is that what is best for me is God’s will.
And the only way to find and follow it is to let go of sounding smart at times.
Notice the words, “at times.”
God doesn’t always require us to do what appears foolish. That is why selling all of your possessions and becoming a missionary isn’t the only gateway to God’s goodness and favor upon your life. I’ve even seen it backfire when done out of ill intention. Sometimes, we will have to risk the opinion of others in following what God is asking us to do—even if it appears crazy. I can guarantee that He provides you with what His wisdom is, and all you have to do is seek it. In fact, there is an entire book full of His logic just waiting for you.
When we choose to replace the world’s logic for His, we break the pattern.
We stop running from person to person, opinion after opinion, and we grab hold of His direction for our lives. We live in the world, but not of it. We trade individual vanity for Kingdom-mindedness. We claim faithfulness over foolishness, even when others may not recognize it as such.
Pursue Him and your mind will be renewed, allowing His will for your life to be fully discovered.