“... but be transformed by the renewal of your mind...” - Romans 12:2
Transformation. A marked change in appearance, nature or form. It’s a biblical concept that is found throughout the entire Bible. From Abraham physically transforming his body through circumcision (Genesis 17"31) to the Disciples miraculously developing the ability to speak multiple languages after receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4); the idea that we become different or new in God is a powerful part of our faith in God.
Yet, while it is true that we are a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17); unfortunately we still continue to be tempted and taunted by sin. We stand between two different worlds - the Godly world which we have now been given access to; and the Human world which is full of temptation.
Last week we explored these worlds and started discussing how our values can influence which world we walk in. We discussed how it is important to step away from these worldly values and instead embrace Godly values. However, I don't know about you but just getting told to stop embracing the worldly values and start embracing Godly ones is as likely as my daughter going to sleep immediately after I tell her to.
Instead, we need to recognise the role and importance of choice in any and all situations. It is one of the greatest gifts of God - free will and the ability to choose which dates back to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. No matter the circumstances - whether they are good or bad - we have the choice to act in line with our Godly values or act in line with Worldly values.
Have a look at this diagram. It is known as the "Choice Point" and outlines how, no matter the situation, we can decide time to walk towards Godly values or away from them. By doing so, we can also identify factors which may encourage us from walking away and strategies to help us embrace walking towards our Godly value.
Source: The Act Matrix
Let me give you a simple example. I love chocolate. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate. You want to make me happy; offer me some chocolate. However, eating it all the time does not align with my value of being healthy. I therefore have two competing values - enjoying life (by eating chocolate) and being healthy (by not eating chocolate).
Now imagine I get invited to the Cadbury Chocolate Factory and an all you can eat chocolate buffet - this is the situation. I feel excited, happy and my desire to eat chocolate increases. I start thinking about how good it would be to eat the chocolate; how yummy it would be. My mind immediately starts thinking of reasons to eat too much chocolate, even though the value I want to be embracing is eating healthy. I think about how hard it would be to regulate my eating while at the chocolate factory - can you imagine all the different types of chocolate I could try - and how much I would miss out on.
However, in the long term, acting away from my value of being healthy comes with significant cost including possibilities such as feeling sick from overeating; having a sugar high and subsequent sugar crash and gaining weight. And so, instead of meeting my short term desires to overindulge in chocolate, I make a decision to moderate my chocolate intake to act in line with my value to be healthy.
Now I want you to think about our current circumstances. It can be pretty rough at the moment with restrictions on travel, the suggestion to wear a mask outside and the financial impact of COVID on our work and lifestyle. It's easy during these circumstances to be focused prioritising yourself and your needs - a worldly value which we are seeing every day in the shops, with people not wearing masks and failing to socially distance. But the Bible says that we need to be transformed through Christ and stresses the importance of caring for others and supporting them (Philippians 4:2). And so, when we are placed in the situation where we can choose between our worldly values and Godly ones, we can use the Choice Point to make a conscious, mindful decision to follow God and his ways.
And in our final week on this topic, we are going to explore how to discern God's values using some of the techniques we have previously covered.
Written by Ashleigh Crosilla