Across the Pastor’s Desk: Be a transforming agent for God
Published 8:00 pm Friday, September 1, 2023
Across the Pastor’s Desk by Don Rose
In his letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul encourages the believers to not be conformed to this world, but rather be transformed as the children of the kingdom. These words of direction are as valuable today as they were then.
How easy it is to be conformed to the powers and the forces of this world. If something works, if it is easier, if it is to one’s own benefit, what can be wrong with it? Everyone is doing it.
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Everyone is getting their piece of the action. The world is “dog eat dog.” The path of least resistance is simply to conform to the ways and patterns of the world at large. It is easier to accept the world’s measure of worth and value, of success and failure, than it is to live faithfully as a child of God, called to a different way of life, to a different standard.
The call to be transformed may not be as clear as might be imagined either in these days. For many to speak of being transformed is to think of the popular Transformers. These toys and characters look like one thing until the parts are rearranged and a robot of one sort or another is apparent.
To be transformed as a child of God is not simply to have the parts rearranged. This transformation is in fact a total renewal, recreation of one’s being. The foundation of one’s life is changed and one is no longer grounded in the things of this world. To be transformed is to have a new focus in life, a focus upon God’s desire for God’s children to be of service for the sake of others. To be transformed is to put others first. To be transformed is to walk in humble obedience to the will of God in response to the great things that God has already done for God’s children.
It is neither easy nor comfortable to resist the conforming powers of this world. Though many would speak of uniqueness and individuality, such language is couched in terms of the norms of the culture. Such individuality is only treasured so far in a world that calls for conformity to get along. It takes strength and courage and the work of the Holy Spirit to be able to suggest that the ways of the world are not in fact the ways of God. Not only is one transformed but one becomes a transforming power for the sake of the whole of creation.
The apostle’s words are a teaching for all who are followers of Christ, both corporate and individual alike, to resist conformity to this world and to be transformed so as to be a transforming agent for the kingdom of God.
Don Rose is pastor of the Mansfield and United Lutheran churches.