This is part 1 in a 5 part series…
Are you looking to grow? Do you want to mature spiritually? Is this something that you think about from time to time or do you crave it?
It is my guess that you are looking for the “abundant life” that Jesus promises.
John 10: 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (KJV)
or in my favorite version:
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. (NLT)
Who doesn’t desire a life described as such? What comes to my mind is being transformed. I cannot personally relate to this described life, yet, but I have faith that I will, on this earth. Although I cannot relate, I can see glimpses of it and I know that I am being transformed. Of course, this does not happen overnight.
Speaking for myself, how does one get from being lazy, selfish, undisciplined, careless, irresponsible, thoughtless, purposeless, and complacency to faithful, loving, patient, diligent, driven and passionate? Don’t get me wrong, I am not there yet, but I can see signs of moving in that direction and because of that I am full of hope.
Let’s look at the method that Paul lays out for us…
Romans 12: 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
How do we change the way we think? What habits and activities must we engage in in order to allow God to transform us?
May I share with you what’s been working for me? Will it be OK if I discuss with you how God has been transforming my life?
I’ll sum it up with this:
Biblical concepts and truths seem to sink into the heart little by little over time and eventually come to fruition, in His time and blesses us in miraculous ways on a very personal level. This is how transformation happens. Only through regular reading of the Word, prayer, and fellowship does this happen.
The key words in Romans 12: 2 are ” let God transform you“, which means that transformation doesn’t happen unless we give Him our time.
In an ultra convenient, vending machine, ATM, fast food, “give it to me now” society that we’ve all been programmed by, taking the long way is not very appealing.
“Reading? you’ve got to be kidding me. Who’s got time to read anymore?”
1 Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
2 But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.
The key words here are ” 2 But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.” Do you delight in reading the Bible? Do you look forward to reading it every day? The writer, David, did not even have the New Testament!
But let’s get practical. If we are not to “copy the behavior and customs of this world” and “let God transform you“, how does this happen?
Allow me to make a suggestion: Read your Bible daily. (which is not a custom of this world)
Developing a daily habit of Bible reading is not easy, but you can do it. It starts with a desire to know God more and a daily decision of putting Him first.
If you have the desire, God will help you and meet you wherever you are.
Here are a few tips for developing the habit:
- Schedule the time. If you are like most people that have busy and tight schedules, this is required. Pick a time when you are alert, not when you are dozing off. Can you imagine telling God, “Sorry God, I did not have time to spend with you today.” He wants you to take Him seriously and this is the first step.
- Pray before you read. This is absolutely essential. When our lives are filled with busyness, it can be very difficult to block out all those little thoughts which will distract us from concentrating on our Teacher. When you are trying to tell someone something very important and they are not giving you their full undivided attention, how does this make you feel? Pray “Dear Lord, please speak to me as I read. Help me to focus on your words and help me to listen.” You may have to pray more than once at times.
- Think about what you’re reading. As you read try to understand the text and apply it to your life. “How does this apply to my life?”. “What can I learn from this?” The answers may not come right away, but if you take the time to digest what you are reading, these thoughts will revisit you and you begin to meditate on them throughout your day. At that point His “Words remain in you”. You may also want to write your thoughts to be shared with someone later.
If you have no one to discuss what you are reading, join us on the Bible Team call, which we have Monday nights. Details for that call are below.
Are you serious about spiritual growth?
Pray these verses, I cannot improve on them:
4 You have charged us
to keep your commandments carefully.
5 Oh, that my actions would consistently
reflect your decrees!
6 Then I will not be ashamed
when I compare my life with your commands.
7 As I learn your righteous regulations,
I will thank you by living as I should!
8 I will obey your decrees.
Please don’t give up on me!
Can I get an Amen!
Details for our weekly Bible calls:
Mondays at 6:00 PM PDT (9:00 PM EDT)
Call in number: (857) 232-0155
Conference Code: 265164