The coming of a new year brings an opportunity to evaluate our lives and think about things we'd like to be different, ways we want to be transformed. Most years, I resolve to lose weight. I kept that resolution in 2015 and lost some pounds! It feels good to be transformed and to walk with a lighter step. I also think about spiritual transformation. What does God want to do in my life? How does he want to transform me?
As we begin 2016, what would you like to see transformed in your life? Could your nursing practice use some rejuvenation? Renovation? In Nurses Christian Fellowship, we use a slogan, “Be Transformed. Transform Nursing.” to encourage students, nurses, and educators to join our movement dedicated to serving God in nursing. It's a nice slogan (at least we think so), but what does it mean to be transformed?
The apostle Paul wrote to the first-century Christians in Rome, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2, NIV). He encouraged the Roman Christians not to fashion their lives after the customs of the world around them, but to have God-focused thinking. These Christians lived in the largest city in the world (one to two million people), the seat of knowledge and power. If they focused on all the trappings of Rome, with its sophisticated philosophies, architectural glory, and worship of the gods, how would they “be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2, NIV)? They would be just like the people in the pagan world around them, who lived for themselves, clueless about God. The Message translation of Romans 12:2 reads:
Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
It's the same for us today. To be transformed, we must renew our minds. We renew our minds in the same way: by focusing our attention on God and feeding our thoughts with God's Word, as found in the Bible. Paul encouraged Christians “to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:23-24, NIV). He explained this new self: “is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Colossians 2:10, NIV).
Nurses Christian Fellowship helps nurses think about God. NCF is about making the daily, real-world connection between God's Word and nursing, about working with God to make us the best nurses, his nurses. In NCF, we renew our minds through nursing-focused Bible studies (free online), the Journal of Christian Nursing, through biblically-focused continuing education, through divinely inspired books. We speak of God, his Word, and what he is doing in nursing on our website, blog posts, our Facebook page, our monthly eNewsletters, and in countless emails, postal mailings, and phone calls. We put on the new self in NCF meetings on campus for students and faculty, in nurse fellowship groups in the community, at conferences where we study the Bible, pray, and encourage one another to follow Jesus in nursing. We are changed from the inside out as we ask God to help us reach out and serve, to bring the Good News of the gospel to those around us. We help each other fix our attention on God and his designs for our individual and collective nursing practice.
Start your 2016 journey to be God's transformed nurse by joining NCF. Membership is more than a JCN subscription; it makes you a partner in this work of transformation. Your partnership—your prayers, your membership dues, your financial support, your service—make this ministry happen. Discover NCF membership and benefits, then join at http://ncf-jcn.org/membership.
Together, we can transform nursing students and schools of nursing. Together, we can be transformed nurses who transform our workplaces. Together, we can transform nursing.