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).

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to start thinking like the world? The Scriptures warn us against it, and yet we are immersed in that mindset and culture nearly 24/7, aren’t we? As a result we find ourselves thinking and saying things that simply don’t line up with God’s Word. Our values are deeply affected as well.

Now there’s nothing wrong with material wealth IF that’s God purpose for us and we use it accordingly. But when it becomes our pursuit and purpose? Not such a good thing. We know that, but do our actions reflect it? We know too that God does not honor pride but seeks humility and selflessness. Do we honor people based on the same criteria? And oh, how we know that life isn’t about us or even what happens around us in a temporal world…but do we live in such a way as to model that truth?

It all fell into perspective for me earlier today when I got what I consider “over the moon fantastic” news. Now anyone who knows me expects me to get excited if I get a good book review, sign another contract, get a great speaking gig, etc. But this news flash blew away all the competition. I found out that a woman I’ve long admired and been praying for (even based one of my books on her life) has been released from prison after serving a 12-year sentence for printing/distributing Christian literature in a country that does not permit anyone to do so without government permission (which is nearly impossible to get).

Twelve years. Can you imagine? Twelve years away from family and home and everything comfortable or familiar. Twelve years of hard labor and harsh conditions. Yet twelve years during which she continued to serve God and remained faithful to her walk with Him.

Putting things in proper perspective? Absolutely. As Christians we simply cannot allow ourselves to be “conformed” to the world’s way of thinking, but the only way to avoid that and to “transform” our thinking is to continually dwell in the Scriptures, the only solid and reliable guidelines for maintaining proper perspective. Personally, I’m thanking a courageous woman in a faraway country for giving me this fresh reminder.