Our lives should be different, not because we avoid certain sins or behaviors but because we engage in certain radical behavior.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (nlt)

Think back to your high-school chemistry class, particularly when the teacher would mix chemicals to create a reaction, possibly a puff of smoke or other special effects. You learned the word catalyst—something that causes that which it comes in contact with to change. In our lives, Jesus is a catalyst for transformation. When we come into contact with Him, He changes us. Jesus forgives us, but beyond that, He changes our thinking. Once that happens, Jesus challenges us to be salt and light in a dark world. Both salt and light are catalysts—they cause change. I want to “live salty and shiny,” as my friend Caryn Rivadeneira writes in Grumble Hallelujah, but there’s a tension—to be in the world but not of it, to be relevant without being conformist.

What if the behavior and customs of this world are based on how unbelievers think? And not copying their behavior begins by not going along with their patterns of thinking? What if the way to not copy the customs of this world (greed, social climbing, etc.) is to focus on Jesus? To open ourselves to the promise of the second part of this verse—the part where God transforms us, changes our thinking—and that change will transform our behavior. Yes, our lives should be different, but not because we avoid certain sins or behaviors. They should be different because we engage in certain radical behavior: caring for the poor, practicing extravagant generosity, loving our neighbor, loving our enemy—things Jesus told us to do.

FAITH STEP: Today, pray that Jesus would “transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” What old ways of thinking and behaving will you have to let go of in order for that to happen?

Written by Keri Wyatt Kent

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