Some words mean exactly what they imply. There are no secret messages or hidden esoteric meanings. "What part of 'No' don't you understand?" a frustrated father asked his teenager. It's hard to dance around such bluntness. Similarly, Paul wrote to Roman believers who felt caught between the pressures of their culture to conform or to be transformed by the renewing of their minds.
A well-respected businessman, a lay leader in his church, and a father tells his story. When he was twelve, he took a gun and shot his enemy. As a troubled teenager with no father to guide him and a busy mother who ignored him, he became involved in drugs and petty crime. When he began dating the woman who eventually became his wife, he said, "She couldn't understand why I always had money. I would stop at a gas station and return with a roll of bills." He then remorsefully told how he hooked up businessmen with girls.
He married, but all the turmoil was destroying his marriage - until a friend led him to Jesus Christ. A marriage seminar sponsored by Guidelines more than twenty years ago helped him learn skills that he desperately needed. This kind of transformation, which happened to him, is the work of God's Holy Spirit - affecting the will, body, and mind.
"Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you" (Romans 12:2 The Message).
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 CORINTHIANS 5:17 NKJV