One of Paul’s many profound declarations comes at the beginning of Romans 12 – “Do not be conformed [to become like] to this world, but be transformed [in Greek, metamorphosis= to be changed in both form and substance] by the renewing [in Greek, anakainosis]of your mind. The Greek word anakainosis is more clearly translated “renovation”.
Like some of you, I imagine, I have worked in the building trade as a home remodeler or “renovator”. I’ve learned three things about “renovation”:
- In a renovation project, change happens slowly over a period of time;
- In a renovation project, there are usually numerous set- backs and starting(s) over;
- A renovation is a total change, so much so that the renovated space is often unrecognizable when compared with its original shape or form.
So we could conceivably translate Paul’s words to mean — “be changed in both form and substance by renovating your mind – when understood this way, we can see that this means not just changing the way we “think” about a certain thing, but altering the priority we give it, the value we attribute to it, the motivation we gain from the change that is taking place in us, the actions that ensue as a result of having our minds changed radically and forever.
Whatever words are used, the bottom line is that all of God’s actions in our lives, all the different ways in which we experience God at work in us and around us, God’s “agenda” (by the power of the Holy Spirit within us) is always to provide resources, tools and encouragement for us to “renovate” our minds so that our lives will be transformed.
It is undeniable … it is hard to “renovate” our minds.
- It’s scary business – it calls us to venture into uncharted spiritual waters. Whereas most of us have created a fairly comfortable, safe environmental that we mostly control, giving God permission to provide what he thinks is necessary for us to renovate our minds is both scary and radical;
- Second, renovation doesn’t happen when we are under a spell or asleep; it requires our participation; we must give God permission to renovate our minds and then we need to make a decision to let God begin to provide the necessary tools and resources for the particular renovation we need to do.
- Next we must use the tools he gives us — Bible study and meditation, contemplative prayer, spiritually journaling, walking a Labyrinth, deepening our Worship, and many others. God gives us tools through which to “hear” his voice, “see” his guidance and “experience” his real presence… not as an end in themselves, but as means by which our lives can be remodeled as we employ and apply the tools God provides for the “remodeling” of our minds and the ultimate transformation of our lives.
Remember you might not see change taking place fast ,but you will see transformation happening. Our prayer should ever be: God, change me into the person you want me to be; Give me the tools to work with. And maybe most of all – give me the stamina and determination to keep on applying the tools until I see them bringing the transformation I need and that you want to see in me.