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. 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.
— Romans 12:1-2
Thomas Merton, the great American mystic was, before entering a life of seclusion the Novice Master in his monastery. That is, he was in charge of training monks on their own way to making a profession for their lives. In his book on that effort, he says, “what God seeks of us is ‘His own image in ourselves.’” It seems to me, that is what Paul is urging as well when he asks that we “be transformed by the renewing of our mind.”
You see, while we don’t like to say it, the fact is that our thinking is a bit muddled. We tend to focus on ourselves and our desires rather than offering ourselves wholly and completely to God. We tend to think about the way we want things to go, rather than listening for the leading of the Spirit of God. We tend to think about the ways we have messed up the plan of God rather than holding to the promises of God.
When we allow God to shape us, when we think again and again about the story of God’s activity in the world, we can become something new, something wonderful. We can become mirrors that reflect the image of God into our world.
I offer for your reflection the second verse of “Make Me a Captive, Lord.” It is important to know that the metaphor used in this verse is of an old pocket watch; a watch whose spring can be wound too tightly and run too fast or too loosely and run too slowly. That is the image of varying with “the wind,” not the breeze blowing through the trees, but the tightening of a watch stem. We need God to hold the chain of the watch and make us true to the moment.
Make Me a Captive, Lord v. 2
My heart is weak and poor
Until it master find;
It has no spring of action sure
It varies with the wind.
It cannot freely move
Till thou hast wrought its chain;
Enslave it with thy matchless love,
And deathless it shall reign.
Lord of all life, grant that your Spirit may so envelope our lives that we are instruments of your grace. May your life live in us and may we find our life in your life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.