The front door creaked as I opened it, the wind made the windows sigh and groan. The tree in our front yard cast a deep, sinister shadow in the porch-light. My front porch flag blew ominously in the breeze; maybe I heard something. My mind raced: what if someone came to my door, armed with a weapon and ill intent? What if I can’t defend myself against this imaginary foe? What if I can’t sleep tonight because of this fear and concern? What if I’m too tired to work tomorrow?
My home is in a safe neighborhood and I had no reason to worry. So why was I up at night, furtively peeking out my front door, worrying about a mysterious bad guy and imagining my front yard to be sinister and foreboding?
Romans 12:1-2 says: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (ESV)
The world tells me that when my husband is out of town and I’m home alone, I need an alarm system, a guard dog or a gun. Horror stories of our broken world and evil people doing evil things play every night on the television, either on the nightly news or in violent fictional dramas. I let the world tell me to be fearful and think about all the things that might go wrong. I worry and call it concern. I fret and call it realism.
But something changed in my mind the other night, thanks to my reading of Romans 12 that day. As I closed my front door and looked out onto my darkened front porch, I said to myself: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…”
How would I think differently on my darkened front porch if I let God renew my mind? What if his truth, and not the latest scary news story, filled my heart?
I could start by noticing the stars coming out in a darkening sky, one by one, reminding me of my Creator’s vastness and creativity. Perhaps I would see my American flag flying in the breeze and be grateful for my country and my home. I would look at the flowers blooming by my door and be grateful for permanence and place, a home to put down roots in. I would see the wreath hanging on my door and be grateful for friendship – for the friend who gave it to me and the friends it welcomes into my home. I would see the porch light as a gift of convenience and safety, the warm summer breeze as a reminder of the beautiful seasons of life, the smell of fresh-cut grass and pine trees as a sign of God’s generosity towards me.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
By the mercies of God I have been given this life, this breath, this home and this precious time. I won’t waste it by conforming to the world or allowing its lies to sneak into my brain and fill me with fear. Today, I am transformed and renewed by God alone, and am looking out my front door with gratitude instead of fear, hope rather than anxiety.
How do you need God to transform the way you think today?
Read an earlier post by Dani here.