Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Based Upon Romans 12:2
“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).
Do not let the world squeeze you into its mold! This is the admonition Paul gave to all of us under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Some may say that this is easier said than done, but the truth is that every one of us may receive the key to living according to this blessing if we firmly place our trust in God.
Without doubt, the best Example of the contrast between worldly conformity and living “that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” is Jesus Christ. When you have an opportunity, reread the Bible account of His wilderness trial in both Matthew 4 and Luke 4. Jesus had been recently baptized in the Jordon River; He had received the blessed infilling of the Holy Spirit; He heard the voice of His Father’s love and approbation trumpeted through the air; and He was led by the Spirit as He entered His wilderness of fasting and temptation. And it is from this experience that we may learn the power of victory over sin in our lives. Let’s take a brief look at the three temptations presented there:
The Bible says, “And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” (Matthew 4:3). In this moment, Jesus had a decision to make: Would He choose to satisfy His own flesh at the command of Satan (conform), or live by the power of the Word of God (be transformed)? “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4).
Then in Luke 4:5-7, the Bible says that Satan took Jesus to a high mountain and shewed Him all of the glory of all of the world’s kingdoms in a moment of time. He then said that he would give Jesus these glories, if He would worship him (conform). “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (be transformed) (Luke 4:8).
Finally, not wanting to be out done by Jesus’ appeal to the Holy Word for His strength, the devil also appealed to the Holy Word by misapplying its principles, took Jesus to the holy temple, showed Him the holy city, and misstated the charge our Holy God gave His holy angels over our lives by tempting our Holy Savior to take and unholy, presumptuous leap to His death (conform). “And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” (be transformed) (Luke 4:12).
I am not certain whether you realize this or not, but John actually gave a synopsis of worldly conformity vs. holy transformation in the same order of Luke’s account of these temptations when he said, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh [temptation concerning appetite], and the lust of the eyes [temptation concerning receiving the world’s riches/kingdoms under false pretense], and the pride of life [temptation to live presumptuously], is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16).
If nothing else, Jesus’ victory in the wilderness taught us two things: First, we see that we all must endure the devil’s onslaught of temptations to live worldly lives, but our God is able to keep us from breaking under that pressure (1 Corinthians 10:13; Titus 2:12-14; Jude 24-25). Second, we see that receiving and rightly applying the Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit is central to our victory. With every temptation, Jesus quickly hid under the shadow and trusted in the Word of the Almighty. He knew that the Father was His refuge, and in Him did Jesus trust (John 14:30; Job 23:12; Jeremiah 15:16-17). By God’s grace, you too can be transformed by His Word.