In Romans 12:2, Paul tells us to be transformed, which is an odd command. This doesn’t mean to metamorphize ourselves with some magic trick, but to be transformed, to be changed by the Holy Spirit. The question is, is our role passive?
Not in the least bit. In another letter, Paul tells us to think about things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). As we fill our minds with these things—the things of God—we will renew our minds, and through the renewal of our minds, God will transform us. We will know what is of God and what is of the world (Romans 12:2). But how do we know what is of God? Where do we find these things that are true and honorable and all the rest? We go to the Bible.
For most of human history, children learned their trade through apprenticeships. They worked for their employer (or parent) day in and day out. For years, they lived with their parent, ate with her, watched how she went about both her business and her entire life. If we want our minds transformed to the mind of Christ, our wills conformed to his will, and our behaviors to mimic his, we need to apprentice ourselves to him.
Jesus’ first disciples walked with him, ate with him, camped out with him. They heard his teachings and saw his reactions to seekers and doubters, friends and enemies. Like any child, they asked all the questions: “Why did you do that? What does this mean? How do we do that?” We do the same in reading the Bible, praying, partaking in communion, and more.
We renew our mind with the Word of God. We live like Jesus when we learn who Jesus is in the Bible and spend time with him (1 John 2:5–6). As we follow Jesus’ journey throughout Scripture, we see what it looks like to be human. He walked around in a real place dealing with real people just like we do. Some people challenged him, some wanted to bring him down, and some loved him, just like the people in our lives. We see in his words and actions what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise.
As you study the Bible, take notes about the way Jesus lived and loved. We have a guide in our hands (the Bible) and a guide in our hearts (the Holy Spirit). Our time spent getting to know Jesus will change the way we live.