“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2).
Some may remember the Apple ad campaign, “Think Different” of twenty years ago. In addition to the ungrammatical construction, the campaign encouraged people to embrace Apple products as a sign of their individuality and independence of mind. The irony of a corporation selling identical products to people as a sign of their non-conformity has been noted before. It’s a common flimflam of the “I buy therefore I am” culture.
We shouldn’t feel superior for recognizing this. People, including ourselves of course, get fooled all the time by similar stuff. Not all of it comes from corporations. Any phrase that gets repeated often enough probably should be more closely and carefully inspected by everyone.
St. Paul’s focus here is on being transformed rather than conformed. The agendas of this world are multiform, and the world is eager to enlist us as its agents and consumers. God’s agenda for us is transformation, spiritual renewal that will form the character of Christ within us. The point is that those whose minds are renewed will be able to discern God’s will and act upon it through God’s grace. As St. Paul writes elsewhere, “But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16).
- Bishop John