Romans 12.1-2: I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, 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 renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
It is January 1, 2010 – Happy New Year! What have I been doing on the first day of the new year? Rearranging furniture. Yesterday, I purchased a couple of new office products for Christmas and I am attempting to form somewhat of an office in my home. As I take a break to jot down some thoughts, I look in the corner of my living room and realize I have a ways to go, yet I have accomplished so much already. By myself, I managed to move three pieces of furniture, throw out some old trash, and temporarily set up the new equipment. All of this in an attempt to be more productive.
It’s funny how our minds work don’t you think? I moved some furniture around and everything looks new. I got rid of some trash that clogged up the place and the room looks better. Can life be that simple?
I must admit that I am happy to see 2009 a thing of the past. It was a challenging year to say the least, with a few spurts of joy thrown in the mix but for the most part, hard to handle. There are tapes in my head that continue to play over and over again. There are video tapes of moments that I wish I could erase. There are audio tapes of comments that will forever be ingrained. Don’t you have some of those? How do we get beyond the tapes of the past and back into the present? I seem to be trapped. I have allowed those tapes to play again and speak louder than ever before and I have failed miserably at getting them out of my mind.
Come to find out, life is not as simple as rearranging furniture and God doesn’t make it any easier to discern what is good and acceptable. What is acceptable to God? Certainly not the tapes that are playing in my head. The messages have cluttered my spiritual worship, or that worship which is pleasing to God in the way I live. I can do better and I don’t need the tapes to tell me what I am doing wrong. Paul reminds us in Romans that we need renew our minds and not conform. I can imagine that he is telling us NOT to conform to what the tapes are saying either. Instead, we should sacrifice our lives to the life worthy of the mercies that come in relationship with God and that includes what we think and what we do for ourselves and for God.
While in Richmond, I heard the tapes that make beautiful music in my mind and heart – the sound of friends and colleagues who support and encourage the sound that is worthy of play. You know they love me in spite of the tapes I constantly hear. They welcome me and all the clutter that comes along. I am grateful for new friends and old, and the tapes they play for me.
There is clutter in my head and I need to do some serious rearranging. There are some words that need to be shuffled, some thoughts that need to be dusted off and trash that definitely needs to be taken out (and there is a lot). It’s going to take some time to clear it all out and it definitely won’t be easy. However, I sit back and think about all that is left to do and I worry. Then I look again – deep down, and I see how much has been transformed and I know it can only get better.