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The Matrix

• Greg Boyd

Greg continued his series on discipleship by emphasizing the importance of controlling what we think. He focused on Romans 12:2 which reads, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” He challenged us to wake up to the transforming truth of Jesus Christ.

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Greg continued his series on discipleship by emphasizing the importance of controlling what we think. He focused on Romans 12:2 which reads, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” He challenged us to wake up to the transforming truth of Jesus Christ.

The assumption for many of us is that we cannot control what we think. We tend to believe our thoughts simply happen. Our brains have an amazing ability to remember things, which can give the appearance of programmed thinking. However, fundamentally, what we think is an active response to our experiences. For example, the advertisement world is largely an attempt to tell us that we need certain things to be a success or that we need to look a certain way to be accepted. This is an example of the “pattern of this world” alluded to in Romans 12:2. Greg called this “the total package of lies we have been conditioned to believe.” Through the experience of watching these messages, we can come to believe that these things are truly necessary for a meaningful and fulfilling life.

However, God through Jesus Christ wishes to bring something new. He wants us to “be transformed by the renewing of our minds.” Greg stated that behavior modification is simply a band-aid to the real problem. Instead, God wants to go deeper and change how we think about our identity. When we find our identity in the truth of Jesus Christ we are set free (John 8:32). We realize that “the pattern of this world” that emphasizes a need to be richer, prettier, sexier, to please people, etc. is really an illusion. The truth is that we have unsurpassable worth in Jesus. He loves us unconditionally. In Jesus is the abundant life (John 10:10b).

How can we grow in this truth? Greg shared three steps that can help: 1. Surrender to Jesus. Trust him and his word no matter the circumstance. Believe that he has your best in mind. 2. Wake up to the illusions of this world. Realize that the messages that the world tells us are not normative. They do not need to define us. 3. Be metamorphosed by “the renewing of your mind.” Again, this is not about modifying our behavior, but about changing how we think, which will in turn impact our actions. 2 Corinthians 10:5 talks about the importance of taking captive every thought to obey Christ. Philippians 4:8 challenges believers to think about those things which are true. This is not easy, but Christ is faithful to complete this good work in us (Philippians 1:6).

Finally, the promise attached to this transformation of thinking is that we will then be able to experience for ourselves what God’s will is for our lives. We will have the strength and courage to live the way God wants us to live in spite of the ridicule and persecution we experience from the world.

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Focus Scripture:

  • Romans 12:2

    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.

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