Conformity or Transformation?
Paul understood the pressures of his day to conform, to go along with the crowd, and he also knew the hostilities and dangers involve in being different. His words are still relevant today. Every teenager who feels the pressure to be like everybody else, and every person who has grown up in the world of Islam contemplating conversion to Jesus Christ, knows the risk they are taking.
"Do not conform. . . but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. . ." Two Greek words stand in contrast to each other, and both symbolize the struggle we face today. The word "conform" is used here and in 1 Peter 1:14, where Peter said we are not to be conformed to the evil desires we had when we were living in ignorance. The word means "to form or mold something." Another translation puts it, "Don't let the world force you into its mold."
"Be transformed . . ." The Greek word used is the same one that gives us the English word metamorphosis. It was the word the disciples used when Jesus was transfigured before their eyes and shone as the sun. It was used of a workman who took raw materials such as marble and chipped away, turning it into a beautiful statue. It was also used of someone whose life is radically changed in terms of conduct, attitudes, goals and purposes.
The Greek word that explains transformation, translated "by the renewing of your mind," is never found outside of Christian literature. God has a monopoly on transforming lives as all of us find the strength to stand against the culture and the moral bankruptcy of our day.
Do not conform any longer 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. ROMANS 12:2