Boot Camp

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

If you’ve gone to boot camp in any branch of the military, you know “the drill.” Essentially you lose your personhood for the sake of the common goal of the military or government. You are not supposed to think on your own, act on your own or play on your own for those grueling weeks. Why? The military is trying to transform your mind and body into a “fighting machine.” After those few weeks have passed, you are now officially a member of that branch. If you made it through in one piece, the drill instructors will have done their jobs.

If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, you’ll have wondered what God’s will was for your life. We all want that “magic” formula for discerning God’s will. Paul lays out a series of conditions for discovering that will. IF we don’t conform to the pattern of the world and IF we renew our minds, THEN we can test and approve God’s will. It’s actually a very wise way of discerning that will if you think about it. If you concentrate on renewing your mind and figuring out how not to conform to the world’s way of thinking – incidentally, two very major parts of our life – then you will be able to test and approve God’s will. He gets your mind off of thinking of what His will is, and instead begins to transform and renew it.

I started off this devotional with a military analogy. The military is able to do in 10 short weeks what it may take years for God to do in your life. Why the difference? God is transforming your thinking to be “other worldly”; whereas the military just wants you to fight and defend. The point is still the same: you can still know God’s will for your life. Will He tell you who to marry, which college to attend, or what to wear today? Probably not, but because we have been transforming our minds, He is better able to guide us through the potential traps and pitfalls that life brings our way.


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