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Friday, 18 August 2017

Shaping your world

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:2 NKJV)
I was given the opportunity and privilege to spend a couple of months in Hondeklipbaai, in the lovely Namaqualand region of South Africa. This is a land largely uninterrupted by time and outside influences, where it is still possible to take long walks along the rugged coastline and through the veld covered in wildflowers. Needless to say, I always take my camera with and take photo upon photo in the process. Though I mostly walk alone, I tend to always talk to God as if He was walking right alongside me. It is then that I get the sense that He talks to me as well. Ideas will start to form in my mind about the things I see, and often these thoughts and images will assist me in coming to terms with various aspects of my life. I wish to share some of these ideas and their inspirational images with you in today's blog.

I wonder of you can make out the tiny fish in this picture as it sits on the bottom of the rock pool, camouflaging into its surrounds? I have zoomed in on the camera to be able to take this photo, and then I came home and cropped the photo even further. It is quite possible that I would never even have known the fish was there if it had not moved. It blends in perfectly with its surrounds.
It was while I was taking these photos of the fish in the rock pools, that a thought came into my mind about transforming to the world. This was when I was reminded of the passage quoted above. As believers, we should not look like the world around us. We should stand out. We should be different. Those differences should be evident. Our worlds should not be shaping and influencing us, but we should be shaping and influencing it!
How do we achieve these goals? Paul gave us a clue. We should focus our minds on the things above and not on the things of this world. We will become transformed by the renewal of our minds! If you occupy your mind with Mathematical problems and equations, you train it to solve those problems and you improve your math skills. The same is true for every other aspect of life. As an artist, I like to challenge myself to draw and paint unfamiliar subjects, or try new styles in art, even experimenting with new mediums. This improves my artistic abilities and I become a better artist. I started off in landscapes, and this remains a great love. Yet, if I had never tried my hand at figures, or portraits, or animals, etc., I would never have become a well-rounded artist. I had to train my mind to understand how to capture different subjects on paper or cloth. Only once I had trained my mind, did the results become evident to the rest of the world.
We can all draw stick men. But only those of us who train our minds to a different way of looking at shapes, will advance beyond stick men.
I think it is time to assess our walk with God to determine if our daily input of 'mind-food' is keeping is at the level of stick men, or if it enables us to become proficient in what we were called to do and be. Are you blending in with the masses around you, or are you standing out from the crowd?
I want you to take a look at the photo of the tree at the top of this blog. There are precious few trees in Hondeklipbaai. The country is too arid for trees to survive. Those that do, do not grow tall, but they do stand out from their surrounds. The tree in the photo is one of a handful of trees in the town. It is evident that standing out from its surrounds has taken its toll on the tree. It is bent over from standing in the wind, so that this has become a permanent feature of the tree. Standing out is not as safe as blending in. Standing out means taking risks, be they physical, emotional, financial, or something else. But standing out also means that God can use you. The world can see you, and in you they will be able to see God, and to some this will be the only introduction to Him they ever have.
We have not been called to be transformed to this world, but we are to transform into the image of Christ.
Prayer: Father, I pray that you will equip myself and every reader with Your Holy Spirit. I pray that You will guide us into choosing our inputs carefully, so that we can have transformed minds that will lead us into living transformed lives, reflecting the glory of Christ Jesus in You. Give us the strength to withstand the conditions of the world and to stand tall where You have planted us. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy my books here:
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