Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Jesus Where'er Thy People Meet"1 (Lyrics)
My grandchildren and I were playing with a new set of Play-Doh the other day. The modelling compound was satisfyingly soft and pliable, and it was fun to work it into people and animals. Moulds came with the set, to be turned out into cookie-like shapes. Best of all, though, was the device that I call the garlic press. We stuffed Play-Doh into the press, and spaghetti-like strands extruded from its little holes. Our imaginations ran rampant. We could make hair for the people and animals, or spaghetti and meatballs in a dish. We could create whatever we wanted, however we wanted.
This reminded me of a Bible verse that I remembered because of its vivid imagery:
Romans 12:2 – Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity. (Phillips)
How do we avoid being squeezed into the world's mould?
First of all, we need to realize that God Himself is the master Potter. As He initially fashioned humanity from the dust of the ground, He has the right to keep on fashioning us as He likes. Speaking to Jeremiah in the potter's shop, He said:
Jeremiah 18:6 – Can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand. (NLT)
We have to be willing to be moulded and fashioned, to be squeezed and stretched into the kind of person that He wants us to be.
Next, we have to take the Word of God as our standard, not the patterns of our culture.
Romans 12:2a – Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. (MSG)
We have to be intentional about assimilating the words of the Bible. A prayer in The Book of Common Prayer reads:
- Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
It's not enough to read the Word. We also need to consider it, pay attention to it, learn it, memorize it, and meditate upon it. Under the power and influence of the Holy Spirit, our thoughts and our actions can be transformed from the inside out, and we can begin to think and act as God does, and not as the world does. Are we going to yield to the Lord, or be squeezed into the world's mould?
Let's decide wisely.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for being the master Potter Who moulds and fashions us. Help us not to conform to the patterns of this world, but help us to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest Your Word, so that we can be transformed into people who think as You think, and act as You would have us act. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.