Renewing of Minds

“Do not be conformed to this age but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2

Sometimes a text of scripture sticks in my mind for days and even weeks. While this can be true of music as well, I have come to realize the spiritual significance of these Bible passages that take hold of my consciousness for a time.

When I get captured by a verse or two I try to figure out what God is saying to me through His word. Occasionally, the message is easily comprehended. More often it takes days or even weeks to attain any confidence that I have really heard from the Lord. I am fairly certain this is more my thick-headedness than scripture’s opacity.

A couple of weeks ago Romans 12:2 became the latest verse to “get stuck.” For the first few days I let it roll around in my mind. As it became more pervasively present, I began to ask myself why it was this verse at this time. This did not result in any insight or specific revelation.

Then I moved to realize once again that if it is God trying to get my attention, I needed His help to decipher His message. I should add at this point that this is still a work in progress. Here are some of the questions I am processing.

First, does the scope of what I am supposed to be learning concern only my life or is it intended for my ministry context? I am leaning towards hearing this in terms of both. It may seem obvious that these contexts are tied together. However, as I finish up my time with the Renewal Fellowship this month and face discussions with my congregations and family about my retirement plans, there is some fuzz around whether this is about God’s will for my future post-congregational ministry or while still in my current charge.

The bigger question is this: What is it that my mind has distorted because of the influence of the world and culture so that God has to renovate in my mind and heart before I can discern His perfect will? I continue to struggle with it as I write this. What I can tell you is that I am in great need of having my mind renewed so that the pull of the Kingdom of God can far outweigh the pull of this age and culture.

All this to say many of us face challenges these days in figuring out the perfect will of God. Congregations are trying to discern their futures. We all are struggling with the current issues concerning human sexuality. Many are looking for direction in their families and ministries.

What I know is that God is challenging me with this verse at this time. Maybe it will stick in your mind as it has mine.

Published in The Presbyterian Record on September 1, 2016.