1. What warning did the apostle Paul write to anointed Christians?
“STOP,” warned the apostle Paul. Stop what? “Stop being molded by this system of things.” (Rom. 12:2) Paul addressed those words to the first-century Christians. Why did he give such strong admonition to men and women who were dedicated to God and anointed with holy spirit?—Rom. 1:7.
2-3. How does Satan try to turn us against Jehovah, but how can we root out things that are “strongly entrenched” in our minds?
2 Paul was concerned because some Christians were apparently being influenced by the unwholesome reasonings and philosophies promoted by Satan’s world. (Eph. 4:17-19) That can happen to any one of us. In a desperate attempt to turn us away from Jehovah, Satan, the god of this system of things, uses various tactics. One of them is that of exploiting any tendency we may have toward selfish ambition or self-promotion. He may even use certain aspects of our background, our culture, or our education to bring us over to his way of thinking.
“MAKING YOUR MIND OVER”
4. What changes did many of us have to make when we first accepted the truth?
4 Think back to the changes you needed to make when you first accepted the truth of God’s Word and decided to serve Jehovah. For many of us, this involved giving up some form of wrong conduct. (1 Cor. 6:9-11) How grateful we are for Jehovah’s help in overcoming such sinful practices!
5. What twofold action is described at Romans 12:2?
5 However, we must never become complacent. Even though we stopped committing serious sins that we engaged in before baptism, we still need to be diligent about avoiding anything that would tempt us to return to those former deeds. How can we do that? Paul answers: “Stop being molded by this system of things, but be transformed by making your mind over.” (Rom. 12:2) So a twofold action is required. First, we need to “stop being molded,” or shaped, by this world. Second, we need to “be transformed” by making our mind over.
6. What do we learn from the idea behind Jesus’ words recorded at Matthew 12:43-45?
6 The transformation Paul had in mind involves more than a superficial change in appearance. It touches every fiber of our being. (See the box “Transformed or Disguised?”) We need to make over our mind—our innermost attitudes, feelings, and inclinations. So all of us need to ask ourselves, ‘Are the changes I am making to become a Christian only skin-deep, or am I truly becoming a Christian deep within?’ The difference is important. In his words recorded at Matthew 12:43-45, Jesus indicated what needs to be done. (Read.) The idea behind those words highlights this important truth: It is not enough to get rid of wrong thoughts; we need to fill the void with godly thinking.