Driving through construction zones or around large cities always produces a dilemma for me. I know that if I drive the posted reduced speed limit I will block traffic behind me and be the recipient of some crude gestures or the victim of some impatient driver’s tail riding or lane cutting. So I usually “go with the flow” of traffic around me. Illegal? Yes. Serious? Probably not. Morally wrong? Probably. It demonstrates how easy it is to be squeezed into the world’s mold, whether it be in driving or decision making or morality.
That’s why I’m fascinated by what Paul wrote to the Romans: “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.” (Romans 12:2) Do not adapt to the whims and wishes of this age. Paul pleads with us to transform our attitudes and the way we live – literally to undergo a metamorphosis. Instead of being thermometers which reflect the temperature of our surroundings, we are to be thermostats and set the temperature. And Paul states that this metamorphosis a two step process.
First, we renew our minds. We are to think differently. Long before science discovered it Paul recognized that what enters the mind radically affects our speech and behavior. As Leslie Holmes suggests (1), we suffer from ATTITUDINOSCLEROSIS. You’ve heard of arteriosclerosis, a chronic disease in which thickening and hardening of the arterial walls interferes with blood circulation. It’s sometimes called “hardening of the arteries.” Attitudinosclerosis is a chronic disease of the human spirit in which the thickening and hardening of our mind interferes with the Holy Spirit’s circulation within us. So Paul wants us to delete the old files within our brain and set up some new ones. Think differently; think like Christ. Fill these new files with Christ’s thoughts and words. Change our attitude about and approach to life. Fill our minds with Christ’s mind, our hearts with Christ’s heart. Be obedient to Him.
And when we do that, the second step in the process happens naturally – we will test and approve God’s will! Ever wonder how to discover God’s will? Living in obedience to Him we discover more of His will and we learn that his will is good and pleasing; it is the best thing for us! Our future provides a proving ground.
A caterpillar knows nothing about the higher regions; but she spins her cocoon anyway; and the butterfly proves the good and pleasing life.
Obeying Christ provides wings for our souls, and sets us free to fly into a whole new life!
So Paul wants us to test God! Prove Him! As an old hymn eloquently states it: “But we never can prove the delights of his love Until all on the alter we lay; For the favor He shows. And the joy He bestows, Are for them who will trust and obey.”
It comes down to obedience. What is your attitude for obedience? Is it, “God, you can have everything but __________.” “God, you can have everything but my anger? My temper? My moodiness? My money? My time? My family? My sex drive? My need to be in control?” What are you still withholding? What decision have you not yet pegged down? What temptation have you not yet fled? “But we never can prove the delights of his love Until all on the alter we lay.” “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.”
(1) Audio Sermon – http://w.reidchurch.org/look_and_listen/default.asp … Manuscript -page=sermons&cArchive=2009https://www.preaching.com/sermons/attitudes-attitudinosclerosis/