was the emphasis of my study last week. I had all week to just focus on these two verses.
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your reasonable act of worship. Do not conform any longer 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."
A clear Biblical principle evidenced in the lives of the men and women who grace the pages of Scripture is "you behave as you believe." You might say it as "you act as you think."
Take the example of Abraham. When God called him out of the pagan nation of Ur and its pantheistic lifestyle and said, "Go to the land I will show you." Abraham believed God and so he went. (Gen 12:1-4) Abraham evidenced his belief by his behavior. He acted to God as he thought about God.
Paul, when called Saul, is the negative example of the same idea. When Saul believed that Christianity was a dangerous heresy whereby its followers should be persecuted, he went about zealously doing just that. (Acts 26:9-11) He acted as he thought.
In God's gracious intervention that Saul was confronted on the road to Damascus by the Lord Jesus Christ, his thoughts were renewed by the truth of Jesus' words. (Acts 26:15-18)
"I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,...Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me."
Paul's thinking and therefore, his behavior then changed to zeal for the Lord. Paul himself recognizes this principle because he teaches it to the young Christians, reminding them that their thinking is evidenced in their actions. In his testimony to Agrippa, Paul says, "I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds." (Acts 26:20b)
Repentance can be defined as a re-thinking evidenced with actions that immediately demonstrate a turning away from the previous behavior. A heart change, a thinking change, and a behavior change are all reflected in repentance.
Obviously, how you and I interact with the very Word of God impacts our thinking and affects our behavior. Another proof of how real this can be is in my very own words when I've witnessed the deed of a child or the results of a child's deed. I don't say, "What were you doing?" but "What were you thinking?" When the deed's proof is clear, I know that his actions issued from his thoughts.
All that to say, the words that I read are critical to the shaping and forming of my thinking. When my thinking doesn't line up with the Word of God, then I must be changed, not the Word of God. When my deeds don't line up with the Word of God, then my thinking must be changed so that my deeds will be changed, not the Word of God.
The Word of God, the Bible, is the rule of faith for life and practice. The Word of God is the standard, the measure, the clingy black knit dress that will reveal where the bulges of cellulite thinking exist.
2 Tim 3:16-17, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
Praise be to God for His Word that renews minds and transforms lives so that believers know and do His good, pleasing and perfect will. Are you starting Tuesday with His Word?