Stuck in a rut?
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV)
It’s vitally important to always seek opportunities to learn and grow. As individuals, leaders, and followers of Christ, we can sometimes become stuck in a rut. Sometimes these ruts are the various rhythms of seasons in our lives. Other times, they can be due to staleness and a lack of effort on our part to continue our growth and development journey. You might be thinking that there’s no problem with that, especially if we are doing well at something; that perfecting and working hard at it is not a bad thing. I would agree with you there in that trying to do our best is a Godly pursuit. I believe this becomes a problem when rigidity comes to how we apply these skills or the wisdom that we are pursuing.
Romans 12 is a familiar passage to many of us, particularly the first couple of verses. It calls for us to give all of ourselves or our whole lives as a sacrifice to God. This is our true and proper worship. It also warns us against becoming too much like the world around us. We can see the flaws of a world that desperately needs God’s grace and love now more than ever. In verse 2, we are called to “be transformed by the renewing of our minds.” Thinking back, I can recall several times where I heard this verse used by leaders at a teen camp, trying to explain to a group of young Christians who were under constant peer pressure to partake in all the temptations of the world. The renewing of the mind came in a reset to God’s plan for us.
As a leader, I look at this verse differently now. The patterns of the world might be the patterns or ruts you may find yourself in whether it be in your life, in leadership, or in ministry. They are not bad things to be involved in, but we need to ask ourselves if we have conformed to these patterns rather than listening for what God is calling us to do.
There is a reason that we should not conform to these patterns and instead should focus on renewing our minds. Verse 2 goes on to explain why we should do this. It is because once we have renewed our mind, “then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” How many times as a leader have we found ourselves frustrated because we weren’t sure what God wanted us to do next? I wonder if the problem was that we found ourselves stuck in patterns or ruts and we were not finding opportunities to renew our minds. The renewal allows us to find perspective and focus that can help us to see beyond the blockages of this world that perhaps we have created.
I hope this will encourage you, as I have been encouraged, to find ways to renew your mind so that you can continue to learn, grow, and become more able to see God’s will for your leadership and ministry.