Romans 12:2-3 “Do not be confirmed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly then he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.“
God has really convicted me over the last couple of weeks through these verses. I have felt like I have read them a thousand times over the years, in particular verse 2, yet something really hit me with significance over recent times.
Paul mentions in verse two that we are not to conform to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Only then can we discern what is pleasing to God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Fair enough… I will put all my effort into focusing my mind on God, to doing what He has told me to do… then I will be transformed. Although that’s not completely inaccurate, something needs to be articulated to ensure that our minds are renewed so that we become transformed more and more into the image of God. But verse two doesn’t tell us how that occurs. It just says that it has to happen. Verse 3 is the verse whereby Paul starts to explain how our minds are transformed and how we, bit by bit, become more like Christ.
A Warning Followed by a Plea
Paul addresses everyone with this verse. Firstly with a warning and then with a plea. He says we are not to think more highly then we ought to think of ourselves, but rather to think of ourselves with sober judgment. Pride is the main obstacle in our hearts that stops us coming to God. It is the spiritual disease that puts the focus on oneself and not on God. It is a condition that is inherent in all of us. Romans 1:23 talks of how in our depraved states (before we are born again as a child of God through faith in Christ) we exchange the glory of God for images resembling mortal man… idols. And the greatest idol is the one we look at in the mirror. We naturally think of ourselves. Our minds naturally gravitate toward focusing on us. We exist to please ourselves. We exist to be someone of value and significance. It’s all about us. Pride is ultimately what stands between us and a sincere and authentic relationship with God.
Here’s an interesting thought. We often associate boasting with pride, which it is. Boasting is thinking too highly of ourselves projecting it onto others in the form of self-exaltation. However, self-pity is also pride as it is another form of focusing on ourselves, only in a “woe is me” mentality. It’s saying we are missing out, or we don’t have the luxuries of others or we are in a worse position then others. That is as prideful as thinking we have it all together and we exist to tell everyone else how good we are! Both lead our minds away from Christ and onto ourselves.
Be Slow to Speak – Quick to Listen
That leads me back to where God has been convicting me. He’s been convicting me of my natural tendency to focus on myself. Indeed that is a result of my sinful nature as it is with all of us in varying ways and degrees. However, I find I like to bring the attention to myself in varying ways when conversing with people, to be quick to exclaim what my ‘pearls of wisdom’ are instead of being slow to speak and quick to listen, being open to what God might have to teach me. I mustn’t be quick to criticise others but rather to considered first how I can submit to and rely more on Christ. The day we think we have it all together, not eager to learn, is the day pride is at the centre of our hearts. Ironically, it highlights how much we need to learn… how much we need Christ in our lives. We are all a broken people and in need of God’s grace daily.