Pressed into a mold
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind. – Romans 12:2
1 Peter 1:13-23
13 So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.
14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then.
21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.
22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.
23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.
Josiah Wedgwood, an English potter, was born July 12, 1730. He developed the famous Wedgwood line of pottery. He founded the Wedgwood company in 1759. He employed various techniques to improve how pottery was made. He is known as the “Father of English Potters.”
One technique that he employed was press molds. They are used to replicate large quantities of uniformly shaped ceramics. One of his innovations was creating raised decorations on his famous Wedgwood pottery.
Press molding is a process in which clay is placed into a mold. The clay is then pressed into the mold to take on a certain shape. After the clay has dried, the mold is taken away, the result is a replica of the inside of the mold.
Press molds are nothing new. The enemy has been using this technique for about 6000 years. He invented it to subvert the human race. He is at work 24×7 pressing people into conformity with the world system. It is a continual, relentless process.
For those who are not children of the King, they have already been conformed to the world. The pressing is ongoing. They become part of the world system and remain that way. It is automatic. Only the intervention of the Father can bring it to a grinding halt. When we become children of the King, we are given the right and authority to choose to stop being conformed. Paul is exhorting us to do exactly that. To do so requires a total paradigm shift.
It is important to realize that we do not conform ourselves to the world, we are being conformed to the world. Spiritual forces are at work to press us into the mold of the world. We are the recipients of the enemy’s press molding. We are truly victims of an extremely powerful, abusive, malevolent personality who seeks only to do us harm. He has our worst interest at heart. We have a choice to stand up and resist. We are unable to transform ourselves. When we choose to stop being conformed, we choose to allow ourselves to be transformed by the Holy Spirit through the renewal of our minds.
The Father does the heavy lifting. Our part is to choose to allow Him to do so.
REFLECT & PRAY
Galatians 5:16 Walk by the Spirit, then you will not be doing what your sinful nature craves.
Father thank You that You are willing and able to put an end to the relentless pressing we are subject to. Encourage me to allow You to transform me by the renewing of my mind.
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.
Two breathtaking inner activities are at work within people on planet Earth. The first is a process of being conformed, that is being pressed into a mold. Pressure is applied to shape our inner immaterial essence.
The second is indescribably incredible. It is the amazing inner transformation performed by the Holy Spirit. Through spiritual metamorphosis, the Spirit of God renews our minds from the inside out.
The Greek word translated conformed is syschematizo. Syschematizo is an inner process at work to shape one’s behavior; to form or mold one’s behavior following a particular pattern or set of standards. It shapes people’s thinking and behavior into a diabolically inspired design.
It is as though the enemy has drawn up a personalized blueprint and mold for each individual’s life. He is actively at work, pressing to squeeze that person into what he desires for them to be. It is more than behavior modification; it is the transformation of the psyche, thinking process, and worldview. It encompasses their values, standards, motivations, goals, beliefs, worldviews, and so much more.
The Greek verbal form syschematizo is worth a closer look. It is a command. Paul is not offering a suggestion or recommendation. Secondly, it is continuous action, it is ongoing in the now. It is something which is to be done repeatedly. Thirdly, it is passive. The conforming process presses on the individual squeezing them into a mold. They do not produce it. They are pressed on.
Putting it in other words, we are to stop allowing ourselves to be pressed continuously into the mold which the enemy has determined for us. We are to work at blocking his efforts to form us as he desires.
Let that sink in. The wicked, evil, vile, adversary of the King is continually taking advantage of the children of the King. He is skewing their minds, their emotions, their beliefs, and their actions.
How horrible is that?
The Greek word translated world is aion. Aion refers to the world system, the system of practices and standards of people devoid of the Father, the living God.
The world may be defined as follows: “All that floating mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, aspirations, at any time current in the world, which it may be impossible to seize and accurately define, but which constitute a most real and effective power, being the moral, or immoral atmosphere which at every moment of our lives we inhale, again inevitably to exhale, – all this is included in the aion (age) . . ., the subtle informing spirit of the kosmos or world of men who are living alienated and apart from God” (Trench).
The Greek word translated transformed ismetamorphoomai. Metamorphoomai means to change the essential form or nature of something; be transfigured, changed from the inside out. As the inner being changes, so does the outward expression.
This Greek verb is also a command. Paul is not offering a recommendation or suggestion. Secondly, it is also continuous action. It is something which is to be done repeatedly. And thirdly, it is passive. The person being transformed is not responsible for producing the transformation, rather they are receiving it.
Children of the King are not entirely passive. They cooperate by allowing the Holy Spirit to do His work within their hearts and lives.
Butterflies are an excellent example of inner transformation, that is metamorphosis. The Monarch butterfly life cycle includes a series of developmental stages that insects go through to become adults. The most intriguing aspect of the transformation is when the pupa (the chrysalis) becomes an adult.
The caterpillar hangs from a suitable branch and sheds its skin and becomes a chrysalis. This final stage involves the wonderworking power of God’s intelligent design called metamorphosis. During this stage, the chrysalis is filled with amorphous goo. The monarch has no eyes and no antennae. It has no legs, and it cannot move. It is during this metamorphosis that major changes in body shape, size, and reorganization occur. The chrysalis effortlessly becomes an adult butterfly.
How does spiritual transformation occur? The Father renews the mind of every child of the King who allows Him to do so. The Greek word translated renewal
is anakainosis. Anakainosis is a renewing process that causes something to become new and different, with the implication of becoming superior. Rather than being conformed to the world which the enemy controls, we are conformed “more and more to that new spiritual world into which we have been introduced, and in which we now live and move” (trench).
Through this process, the Lord Jesus Christ becomes the center of our lives.
“The change of outward expression is dependent upon the renovation, the complete change for the better of the believer’s mental process. This is accomplished through the ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit, who when definitely, and intelligently, and habitually yielded to puts sin out of the believer’s life and produces His own fruit. He does that by controlling the mental processes of the believer. It is the prescription of the apostle” (Wuest).