Romans 12:1–8

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. (Rom. 12:2)

Last summer I decided to make some lawn furniture for our home. Our expansive backyard included a fire ring, horseshoe pit, and hammock. All that was missing was a picnic table and some benches. My stepson Simon and I went to the home center and bought some lumber, then began cutting the legs and planks for four camp benches. After cutting the first piece, we marked it with a “P” for pattern. Within minutes we had all the legs cut and ready to assemble. There was just one problem: we had measured the pattern incorrectly, and all the pieces were too long! That problem was easily fixed but reminded me of the carpenter’s maxim, “Measure twice; cut once.”

That is also good advice for constructing a life. Each day, we conform our lives to a pattern—either the pattern of the world, with its short-sighted, self-centered way of thinking, or the pattern of Jesus Christ who was sinless and unselfish, the perfect representation of the Father’s will. As we consistently measure our thoughts, words, and actions against this standard, our lives are transformed.

Simon and I corrected our error and wound up with sturdy, well-balanced benches. Are you willing to measure your mind and heart against the perfect pattern of Jesus Christ—and change accordingly? If so, I know you’ll be pleased with the result.

Review your to-do list and ask, “Where are my growth opportunities today?”

Lawrence W. Wilson is a pastor, author, blogger, and avid cyclist from Fishers, Indiana. He is the author of A Different Kind of Crazy (WPH).