Back in the days of my youth I played on a softball team. My dad loved sports and I wanted to capture his attention so I joined my sister’s team. She was a natural at the game. I was not. The truth is I hated playing. As the right fielder I was scared that a fly ball would come and hit me right between the eyes. I determined if one came my way I would let it fall to the ground, run up to grab it, and throw it to the closest player. The problem is I couldn’t throw worth a flip. My softball career didn’t last very long.
I had conformed to what I thought would get me what I wanted most; the praises my sister was receiving and my father’s attention.
“Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2:
If you are a woman and have been in a church setting for any period of time you will know the reference well; the Proverbs 31 woman. She was the model for women. A quick search on the internet will show you that she is the who many aspire to be like. Because of her selfless life she was held in high esteem in the church community. I don’t think there could have been a more perfect woman.
I tried to be like her. It became yet another area in life to conform. On occasion someone would say those magic words of affirmation, “Julie is a Proverbs 31 woman.” In that moment it was declared that in my messy life I was somehow doing something right. It all was so very wrong.
This past week as I prepared notes for the women’s coffee group, these words unearthed something in me. “Conformity is a counterfeit version of true transformation.” Years before I would not have considered those words as truth. Today I know they are.
I tried to conform to the attributes of this woman in Proverbs. I tried to conform to the characteristics of what I was told was godly and holy. Something very important was left out, the life of Christ fused into my very being as the source.
He was acknowledged as giving me new life and being the source of life all while telling me what I needed to do to be better at _______. It’s just not right. Anytime it’s about me becoming better or living out a pattern then it no longer is about Him. Paul understood that. He tried to tell me.
As I read the verse above, with the lens of the position I was resurrected into, I find clarity into what Paul was trying to say. It’s been there all the time had I looked at the context of the letter he wrote to the Romans. Instead a verse was grabbed out and a challenge was given.
My husband and I were long distance daters. We relied heavily on the communication in letters as back in that day that was all we had. If I had taken one of his letters and skipped through and pulled out certain paragraphs much of what he was trying to say would be missed. The context of what is being said changes everything.
To understand what Paul is telling us in Romans 12:2 I have to look at what he was saying at the end of Romans 11: “For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things.”
It all makes sense to me as I see what has transpired in my life. Paul told the Romans, and me, not to aspire to the models in front of us but instead to be changed by the new mindset of what has happened. Christ came into my life to be interwoven into me as the embodiment of life to be offered out. I simply live in what has happened. I don’t offer out of a list or regime or pattern. I offer out of the mind of Christ that loves the world completely.
I am positionally Jesus in Julie. All things pertaining to my life are from Him and through Him and to Him.
He is the source of all that is to be done. There is no mentoring to live out or a life of characteristics to be realized. It is simply and only believing, accepting and living from the position He has placed me in. He is the blood in my veins, the wind in my sails, the way the truth and the life in me.
That is transformation.
The will of God is in me, it is proven, acceptable and perfect. It is Jesus and we are fused together as one.
When I hung up my softball glove and stopped conforming to my sister’s life I discovered what I love. I love to cook. I started cooking. I simply lived in what was already inside me.
So it is with this fusion of Christ in me. I live in the reality of what He has done in me. For from Him and to Him and through Him are all things.
©copyrighted 2017 Julie L. Todd