Today in Trademark Month, we will be introducing the idea of thinking radically. From our previous devotions we know and acknowledge that the word radical comes from the word ‘root’. My hope for our devotion time today is to focus the root of our thinking on things above. For our reading we turn to Romans 12 verses 1-2. (NIV)
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 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.
I probably say this about most scriptures, but Romans is one of my faves. This verse is a very popular scripture that we all know and love, one we make picture quotes out of and use in our day-to-day lives. The book of Romans is a masterfully written exposition on God’s grace and the righteousness that comes by grace through faith. Romans 1-11 is an outline of how merciful God is toward us and how we must start behaving since we have finally decided on Jesus Christ being our Saviour.
When Paul starts here by urging us to offer ourselves to God as holy, acceptable, and pleasing ‘in view of God’s mercy’, he is referring to the mercy that is expressed in chapters 1-11. In fact, he is warning us of what could go down if God decided to not be merciful. What I want to highlight here is that before we get to our beloved verse 2 we must acknowledge that the transformation of the mind is not an overnight thing, and therefore the brain/mind must create deep pathways to align itself to a new kind of thinking. Everything starts in the mind; what we think sets the course for what we do.
As educators we know that critical thinking is a practiced skill. One must train the mind to explore new patterns of thinking instead of allowing it to just follow its normal, mundane way of thinking. This principle can also be applied to one’s spiritual life.
The secular world has much to say about the relationship between thinking and becoming. What we become is directly linked to our purpose. We humans spend our whole lives trying to find our purpose. The Bible says that our purpose is to worship God, that we were made by and for Him (Col 1:16). So, if we are concerned or thinking about becoming anything, it should be about becoming and being a living sacrifice for Him because of how merciful He is. Romans says that becoming a living sacrifice for God is our true worship and that is what we need to be focusing our minds on, so that we are constantly thinking about God. Then, because we have tuned in or aligned our minds with His patterns and ways, we will be able to have our minds transformed and have the skill to identify God’s will for our lives, a will that is good for us.
I do not know anyone who thinks more radically than God. Literally every idea He has is a great idea. I mean, we might not always think so and we could disagree on that one (I know I for one have some suggestions), but what do we know anyway, because His thoughts are higher than ours. One thing is for sure though: God does not play or think small, and if we are going to commit to being the salt and light of our world, we need to upgrade our thinking patterns by submitting our thoughts, deeds and bodies to God and allow Him to transform not just how we think but also what we do and who we are for His glory.
In the midst of learners and staff returning to school and the chaos of the world “going back to normal’ (whatever that means), may we remember not to settle for what the world has to offer. Even though we do not see it, God’s got this.
To end we meditate on Colossians 3:1-5 (NIV):
Since then you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature.
Col 3:1-5 The Message
So, if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Do not shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from His perspective.
FIX your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of the earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.