Proving the good, acceptable, and perfect
“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.”-Romans 12:2.
Proving something is demonstrating evidence. While a thing may be true, it may never be made manifest as long as the qualifying parameters are not met. In our text, the qualifying parameter is ‘renewing the mind.’ By renewing the mind, we are able to prove the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.
Renewing your mind implies that, you no longer come to the same conclusions that a person would if he were conformed to the world. You cannot prove the will of God surrounding and filling yourself mentally, with the world’s philosophy. A good example is your calling in life; it represents God’s perfect will for your life here on planet earth. Your submission to that calling is predicated on your admission of the calling and acceptance. To deny the call, is to short-circuit the validation (or proof) of God’s intention for you as it relates to your purpose in this world.
Hence, inconvenience, trials or struggles, challenges or threats, are not indicators that you ought to back off from your God-given assignment. (Note: the apostle Paul faced what seemed to be insurmountable odds, yet he pressed on. (See 2 Corinthians 4: 8-18).
Therefore, we can now understand that acceptance from people is not the key or evidence of your calling. However, your calling should eventually bring certain acceptance. The difference between the ministry of Jesus, and that of the Pharisees, was that Jesus had results that validated the claims He made of Himself. You never prove something by denying its existence; rather, you prove things by testing the claims that are made.
Principle: The test of any claim is the vindication of proof – be it in the affirmative or negative.
Note: the word ‘test’ does not imply that one verifies a claim skeptically. It means one seeks to ‘demonstrate’ an already existing truth or fact.
Vindication can be defined as justifying something against denial. So we prove the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God by demonstration, not skepticism. The demonstration of any truth is only confined to the truth known, and no more. A good example would be a woman who claims that a man got her pregnant. By taking a paternity test, it will either validate or silence her claim. The proof shown by the test will bring about the truth against any denial. In fact, it may open up a can of worms if the man accused is not responsible!
So the subject under discussion will be the limiting factor for the truth shown, be it salvation, marriage, business, or even politics! You must clearly define the terms for the area you wish to examine. The word of God forms the basis or foundation for proving His will for our lives. Therefore, without a renewed mind in a given area, there will be no demonstration of the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God in that area. So because your mind is renewed from lying does not mean it is automatically renewed from lust. The word of God has to be applied to the specific area under discussion.
Our conclusions change as our minds are renewed. Renewing of the mind is incremental; this means that our conclusions will also change incrementally. (Increment means the action or process of increasing in quantity or value). Therefore, it is safe to conclude that renewing of the mind is a process.
“…but be ye transformed by the renewing of the mind” (Romans 12: 2).
The Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary Of Old and New Testament words gives a very clear rendering of the word ‘renewing’ from the Greek language. The word anakainosis means the adjustment of the moral and spiritual vision and thinking to the mind of God, which is designed to have a transforming effect upon the life. It is therefore, once again, safe to conclude that, the word renewing is synonymous with the word ‘adjustment.’ The mind’s conclusions change as a result of adjusting itself to the will and plan of God.
“Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” —Galatians 5: 16.
There are three things that happen on exposure to the world or God’s way:
(I) We are indifferent (a neutral effect of complacency – also described by Revelations 3: 14-16 as a lukewarm state).
(II) We are defected (a negative effect on us). This influence causes us to drift from God’s standard to the world’s. It ends up fracturing character.
(III)We are perfected (a positive effect). We become built up in our spiritual consciousness and moral obligations. This is the impact of God’s word on our lives.
The ultimate objective is the perfecting of the saints (see Ephesians 4 verse 11-13). God does not want us to remain indifferent, nor does He want us defected. It is our perfection that interests Him. Since a renewed mind is essential to proving God’s will, we need to constantly adjust our mind’s concepts to the mind of God, which is His word.
“And be not CONFORMED to this world” Romans 12: 2.
The word ‘conformed’ here, is from the Greek word suschematizo, which means, “to be fashioned.” Vine’s dictionary renders it as “that which is transitory, changeable, unstable. Suschematizo cannot be used of inward transformation.”
Schema — means “fashioned.”
Morphe — means “form.”
To conform then, is to go with the latest trend. There always seems to be a shift and change. It is the philosophy of the world current at the time. It is subject to change. As goes society, so goes the makeup of one’s life and ideals or beliefs. A chameleon is a lizard that changes its skin color according to its surroundings. This change is only superficial, bearing no inward transformation.
Transformation is the inward change that works its way out. It adjusts the mind, and consequently, the life, permanently to the word of God. This occurs despite leading worldly trends.
Three areas to be transformed
(I) Thoughts: includes ideas, concepts, philosophies, ideologies, conclusions, and the motives of the heart.
(II) Words: Vulgar speech, slander (defamatory remarks), strife, verbal bashing or abuse.
(III) Deeds: dress code (male or female). Actions of omission or commission, that are in sync with the world.
Note: if these three areas merely conform to God’s will, they are soon subject to change, but if transformed, the results become permanent.
The word renewing implies or suggests a process, not a once and for all done deal. This means we are in the process daily of becoming what we ought to by adjusting our minds to the image of Christ. As we think, we are (Proverbs 23: 7). The word ‘prove’ (Greek word dokimazo), means ‘to test. with the expectation of approving.’ This would imply that your test yields a passing grade upon completion. We expect good results, but we must set ourselves in a position to prove it in our personal lives by doing the above things we have discussed, that is, renewing the mind. This means our faith in God becomes relevant, not because of what we say, but because of the evidence our lives demonstrate; evidence that cannot be denied.
(The above vision pearl is an excerpt from the book, Uncovering the Hidden Stranger Within).
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