Romans 12:2 - Do not be conformed 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.
The world around us has a huge impact on what we think, how we feel, even what we believe. This is true in our day, and it was true in the time of the apostle Paul. Because this is so, he was concerned that Christians not become saturated by their culture.
Now while we may not want our mindset to be overly shaped by the superficial and self-centered ways of this world, it's hard to resist this potent lure. After all, we're daily inundated by outside influences, and these shape our thinking on many levels.
In our struggle to resist the world, Paul gives us good news, and it's centered in the Lord Jesus Christ: "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God" (Colossians 3:16).
Here, Paul was echoing the words of Jesus, who was crucified on the cross and raised again from the dead. This is what the Savior said: "The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life" (John 6:63b). When Jesus was tempted by the devil—as we all are tempted to conform to the world—Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4b).
Friends, grappling with the world all around us is a full-time job and one that we're ill equipped to do on our own. But God's Holy Spirit can empower us, sustain us, and give us the victory we so desperately want and need. We cannot do it on our own. James tells us, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).
To this end, let the Word of God richly dwell in your heart. Let its divine nourishment encourage your soul, renew your mind, fortify your faith, and guide you in the way everlasting. God knows the battles you face and He has given you triumph in every one of them through Christ Jesus.
In your fight to resist the world, seek strength from God in His Word. Then, going forth, live with the assurance that He will sustain you in your faith, protecting you as a loving father watches over his child. "The Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one" (2 Thessalonians 3:3).
WE PRAY: Heavenly Father, give us the power to resist the world around us and to stay close to You. Amen.
From "New Life Comes from Christ, Not Culture," a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Wallace Schulz, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. What helps you resist the things you shouldn't do?
2. Can praising God help us in our struggles in the world? Can you cite an example from your life?
3. What advice or assistance do you give others who are struggling with temptations?
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