And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
These verses are a constant reminder to me not to let myself become entangled in this world, and, I don't know about you but, I need reminded.
I think, though, that Christians are fond of just quoting the first two verses and we often ignore the treasure trove that is the rest of the chapter. The Lord isn't in the habit of leaving us hanging, and, so, when he gave us the command to not be conformed to this world, he also gave us the methods to use to avoid such a circumstance.
Serve!!! We need to be serving in the ministry. You don't have to be a pastor or evangelist or even have a Bible College degree, you have been commanded to serve!
I love the phrasing used in this verse! When I think of the word "cleave" I picture someone hanging from a precipice tightly gripping a rope. Basically, "holding on for dear life."
If our close friends aren't Christians, we're probably not filling our lives with proper influences to assist our sanctification.
Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep."
Be empathetic, not sympathetic. Feel with those who need you not for them!
Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men."
This might be the hardest item on the list!
Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
I love this last part. Guess what happens if you fight fire with fire? You get more fire! You can't fight fire with fire, you must fight it with water! Just the same you can't fight Satan and his evil forces with evil yourself. You will only allow him more victory! You must fight him with good. It feels as if you're not doing anything to defeat evil, but it's the exact opposite, you're squelching the fire of evil with the refreshing waters of righteousness!
In my own personal experience I've found this to be true. There were those whom I believed to be my good friends, but for the evil in their hearts, they turned on me. My desire was to yell at them, to "tell them what for," to "put them in their place." But, because of the guidance of my mother through that period, I was able to recognize that I was not the one who had the right to exact revenge. In fact, when I'm attacked for doing good, I'm not really the one who is persecuted, it's Christ. Therefore, the offense is not against me, but the Lord, and it's his vengeance, not mine. I decided to be kind to those people. Guess what, it worked! When I see them in the grocery, I'm always kind. I say hello in a friendly manner and ask them how they're doing. They're obviously the ones showing discomfort, and not me. I can leave the situation without shame, which I much prefer to the opposite.
In closing, I love that this chapter gives us the command to be sanctified, and then lists exactly what we need to do to accomplish that! I challenge you to read through Romans 12 and try to implement it in your life!