Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 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.
Most of us understand the idea of an autopilot. It’s a navigation system that controls the direction of travel of a ship or airplane. Think of that autopilot as your mind. So, lets imagine that you’re on a ship (your life) in which the autopilot is programmed in a direction you don’t want to go to a place that you don’t want to be (death according to Romans 8:6-8). You make your way to the bridge, the control center of the ship, and you take the steering wheel and force the ship in a different direction, to a place you do want to be (life and peace according to the same scripture passage). You succeed for a while. You’re headed in the right direction. It’s a constant struggle because you are fighting against the autopilot, but at least you’re headed the right way. But you will never make it. Sooner or later you will need to let go of the steering wheel. You will get tired and have to rest, you will get hungry and have to eat, you will become distracted and turn your attention to other things. All sorts of things will happen, and you don’t know how to change the programming in the auto pilot. The point is that as long as you are struggling against the autopilot and relying only on your own ability, the ship will eventually return to its programmed course because you can’t do it on your own. You want to do it by yourself, but you can’t. There is only one real choice if you really want to change the direction of your ship. You have to humble yourself. You have to admit that you are helpless and hopeless and you need help. You have to go to the Capitan of the ship (Jesus) and ask for his help. The Capitan is the only one who can renew the programming of the autopilot because He is the only one who knows how. And that new programming is the key to permanently changing the direction of the ship, making it go in the direction you want to go, to the place you want to be.
Do you understand? When we are truly saved, transformation is certain. But we are not the ones who do the transforming work. Our God and Savior does that work. We will never save ourselves because we can’t. In the same way we will never renew our minds on our own because we can’t. The Bible tells us there is a way that seems right to the carnal mind, but that way ends in death. Death is certain when we are determined to be the Capitan of our own ship and try to control its direction on our own. Depending on our own abilities and our own understanding is conforming to the world because that is what the world teaches us to do. The world also teaches us to surrender to the defects in our character and personality instead of surrendering to God through Jesus Christ. (This is also conforming to the world)
How do we resist the world and become transformed (into the likeness of Christ) by the renewing of our minds according to Romans 12:2? The answer is in Romans 12:1. We have to do the only reasonable thing. We have to humble ourselves and submit to Him, trust Him to do the work, and cooperate with the work He does in us, “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:6
The farther away we get from worldly thinking, the closer we will be to that place of life and peace in Christ.
When you pray today, ask God these two questions: Who is the Capitan of my ship, and where is that ship headed?