Jump Start # 2471
Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
In a class the other day, we were talking about how the Christian is different from the world. This is something that some do not understand. It’s more than simply adding worship to your life. The disciple of Jesus has a different outlook and is traveling a different direction than the man of the world. And this difference trickles down to things such as modesty, attitude, forgiving, and even how one views death.
The child of God is simply “wired” differently than the person of the world. It’s not that the child of God is “better”, he has simply put on Christ and filled his heart with the word of God. By doing that, he has changed. He is different. He sees things from God’s perspective. Anyone can do this. Everyone ought to do this. But most don’t.
And, one of the most remarkable differences between a Christian and a person who is not a Christian is the inside-outside direction of life. That has switched in a Christian and that change has made all the difference in the world.
The man of the world is influenced and driven by the outside. The outside shapes and determines his inside. On gray, dreary, winter days, the man of the world often feels gloomy and depressed. He has allowed the outside to color the inside. The circumstances he is in determines his mood and his spirit. So, if the line is long at the restaurant and the service is slow, it will cause the man of the world to boil on the inside. He gets upset. He often has to say something, usually, unkind and mean. If the traffic is slow, it will change how he is. If work piles up, it will change how he is. The outsides are always setting the tone for the insides. And, the real problem with all of this is that no one can control the outsides. The weather, the traffic, the mood of others are all beyond what we can do. So, in essence, the man of the world, is always on a ride. He allows others to shape his day and his spirit. Because of others, he is grumpy and down in the dumps. Because of others, he is impatient and angry. For the man of the world, the outsides control the insides.
It’s just the opposite for the man of God. His insides shape his outsides. He is transformed rather than conformed as our verse expresses today. Paul sitting in a Roman prison could be thankful, prayer and even joyful. Beaten and in a Philippian jail, he was singing praises to God. He was not allowing the outside to set the temperature of the inside. Patient. Content. Joyful. Thankful. Happy. No matter what was going on, no matter what was happening.
So, at the restaurant, when the service is slow, the people at the next table are fuming and fussy, but where the man of God sits, he speaks kindly to the staff. He understands how busy they are. In fact, he leaves a generous tip because his heart feels for them. In long lines of traffic, the man of God, doesn’t consider driving down the shoulder to pass everyone else. First, that is illegal, and there may be an accident up the road. He uses the time to talk to others in the car with him, or to pray if he is by himself. Cold, dark weather doesn’t make the man of God feel that way on the inside. He bundles up and heads out with a sunny and cheery spirit. He doesn’t let the weather set the tone for his spirit and attitude of the day. The man of God is driven by his insides and not his outsides.
The man of God is driven by the Word of God. His heart is wrapped around the teachings of Jesus. He understands that this world is not our home and that problems come and go, but God remains upon the throne. He knows that everything will be ok, if he just continues to walk closely to the Lord.
Now, with this inside-outside difference, you will notice things when you are around people of the world. First, they tend to complain more than they are thankful. They’ll complain about the traffic, the weather, the long lines, and high prices. Things are always gloom and doom for the man of the world. Politics, sports, even Thanksgiving dinner, and he’ll find something not right and something to complain about. You get the impression after awhile that some folks are never happy unless they are miserable.
Second, you’ll notice the difference in the willingness to lend a helping hand and help others out. The man of the world is often cautious and uneasy about things like that. He’ll help a friend or family, but he doesn’t go out of his way for those he doesn’t know and especially for those he doesn’t like.
Third, the man of the world tends to see everything as it relates to him. His perspective is himself. “Why should I,” is a statement he often makes. There is no greater good than himself. If it is not to his advantage, why pursue it? The man of God sees things from God’s perspective. The good Samaritan got nothing out of helping the injured man on the road other than it was the right thing to do. It was putting the golden rule into practice. Don’t get involved would be the thought of the man of the world.
Finally, the child of God realizes that there was a time when he too, was the man of the world. He thought this way. He was an outside-inside person. But, now, through Christ, he has changed. He is now an inside-outside person. His heart has been rewired. He thinks differently now. He is different. He is a child of God.
The religious community tries to blend the world in with believers. They want to erase differences and have us to think that other than going to church on Sunday we are the same. We are not. We think differently. We pray that all could think the way God wants us to. And, that difference makes all the difference.