Do not conform 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

The last decade or so has given renewed meaning to the word “Instant.” I can remember when ‘instant’ potatoes, ‘instant’ rice, ‘instant’ oatmeal, etc., were breakthroughs and meant instead of taking 20-30 minutes or longer to cook, you could have them in 30 – 90 seconds. Even though 30-90 seconds doesn’t’ really mean “instant,” we accepted it because it meant we were significantly reducing the food prep process time. In the past several years, however, with the world ‘shrinking’ because of technology and communication breakthroughs, we have redefined ‘Instant’ to mean ‘Instant’ again. If something happens in Jakarta, Indonesia; Moscow, Russia; or Kigali, Rwanda, we know about it at the same moment it is happening. Texts, photos, and emails are sent and the world instantly knows what is taking place. Though these breakthroughs are wonderful and helpful in so many ways, we can get acclimated or conditioned to think that everything we want to know or need to have in life happens that way, when in reality most things DO NOT. In fact, the most significant and meaningful things in life take time, often prolonged periods of time. One of these things is authentic personal and relational transformations. People don’t change ‘instantly’, and if they do I’m suspicious. Yes, we can have an encounter with Christ and have a serious life-altering experience, I know I did. And that encounter changed the trajectory of my life and what I was living for…forever. However, as wonderful and far-reaching as that change was, the process of being “conformed to the image of Christ” (Rom 8:29) had only begun. And that was 42 years ago….

The transformation process, or being “conformed to the image of Christ,” does not happen in a ‘microwave moment’, but it is rather a lifelong process of making daily choices to embrace Christ and His Word. Jesus repeatedly taught, especially in the Gospel of John, that we are to “remain,” “abide, “continue,’ ‘dwell, ‘etc. in His Word…continuously. The word John chose to convey what Jesus was repeatedly telling his disciples to do, was one Greek word, “meno”, which literally means “dwelling,” and was translated to all those English words. In John 14 when Jesus says, “In my Father’s house are many mansions, He uses the noun form of this word, “meno”. In other words, “In my Father’s House are many dwelling places.” Why would Jesus continuously teach and encourage His disciples to continue, remain, abide, dwell, make their home, in Him? Because He was introducing them to another way of thinking, Kingdom thinking, and consequently living. And he knew that without continuing, remaining, abiding, dwelling, etc., in Him and His Word their minds would never be renewed nor their life transformed.

Consider these few, of many, texts in the gospel of John where Jesus exhorted His followers to “meno” in His Word:

John 8:31-32 “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide (meno) in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (NKJV) (Note, to actually “know the truth” that “makes you free,” you must first “abide (meno) in His Word.” Unfortunately, no abiding, means no “knowing the truth” and limited freedom.)

John 15:7 “If you abide (meno) in Me, and My words abide (meno) in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” (NKJV)

Jesus uses this word, “meno” 6x’s in 4 verses (John 15:4-7) to emphasize how crucial it is to “make our home” in Him and His Word. If we choose not to, according to these two verses, we will not know freedom, to the degree that it’s available, and we will not see our prayers answered, at least not as frequently as we would hope. These are serious repercussions of choosing our own way instead of His.

You see the idea of “renewing the mind” so we can be “transformed” is supposed to be normal Christian life. Paul tells us the result of a life of Worship, where we offer ourselves a living sacrifice, (Rom 12:1) is we get to experience normal Christian life where our minds are renewed and our lives are transformed. This happens because Christianity is NOT A RELIGION, but a lifestyle. A way of life. Christianity isn’t something we practice, it’s something we are. The Kingdom of God is not a new religion, it’s an “Alternate Society.” A way of thinking, living and loving. Jesus ushered in a Kingdom, a new way of thinking and living that does not take its cues from this world, but from Him, and His Word. This may sound a bit radical, but I assure you it wouldn’t have sounded radical to a 1st Century Christian because this is how they lived and extended the Kingdom of God. May we be so radical. May we embrace the process of transformation!

Exercise: Have you considered what it means to make your home in Christ like the scriptures teach? Have you wondered how you could better make His Word your dwelling place? What would it look like if abiding in Christ’s Presence and His Word became your first priority? Became our church’s first priority?

Prayer: Lord, though we may see from Your Word that you constantly invited your disciples to make their home, their dwelling place in your Word, we are not totally sure what that means, or what that looks like. We ask you Jesus to please reveal to our hearts how we are to live out what you constantly reminded your disciples to do, to remain, to continue, and to abide in You and your Word. Help us choose You over our appetites, our aspirations, and our affections, so we can truly be “transformed by the renewing of our minds.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. — Isaiah 43:18-19