Last week, we began to answer the question “How do I experience God’s best for me?” We began by looking at Romans 12:1-2: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” If we are going to experience God’s best, we’ve got to guard against allowing the world to shape our value system, and instead, renew our minds with God’s word. This is a two-step process. First, we must stop the flow of destructive toxins into our thinking through the media and ungodly relationships. We must carefully filter what we watch and read, and who we hang out with, because every message that comes through that filter is working to either conform you to the world’s value system or to transform you into the image of Jesus Christ. If you want to grow in Christlikeness, you must have a biblical filter. Without a conscious filter, you will never make much progress toward Christlikeness and you will not experience God’s best. But it’s not enough to just “filter out” the world’s messages. The second step we must take is to feast our minds on the truths of God’s word. We have to replace the world’s messages with God’s messages. We have to replace lies with truth. And where is truth found? In the Bible. In fact, you cannot be a true disciple of Jesus Christ apart from a commitment to learn and apply Biblical truth (John 8:31-32). You will never be set free from the lies and destructive influence of the “lust of the flesh,” the “lust of the eyes,” and the “boastful pride of life” until you know and apply Biblical truth.
There is tremendous cultural pressure today to abandon the Bible as the authoritative source of truth and morality. In fact, our culture wants to remove God from the equation altogether! Today, there is no cultural moral anchor. There is no objective reference point to distinguish truth from error. Where there is no objective standard, our desires become the shapers of truth and error, of what is right and what is wrong. But remember, this is a moral world with physical and spiritual laws that God has set in place. We can no more ignore God’s moral laws with impunity than we can his physical laws. Denounce the law of gravity and jump off the Empire State Building if you want to, but you will experience the consequences. The same is true of God’s moral laws. What we sow, we reap. Make no mistake about it: Satan, the god of this world, is seeking to draw your heart away from God. He wants to replace God’s values with his own. To escape that negative cultural drift, we must renew our minds with God’s Word. But developing facility in the Scriptures takes time, effort, and discipline. We need to realize that good intentions won’t get us very far. A desire to know God’s Word must be translated into concrete actions that are reflected in your schedule. And it’s not enough to know God’s word: we must consistently apply its truths to our lives. Practicing this five-step process can help:
HEARING–Romans 10:17. We hear by sitting under godly pastors and teachers who provide insight into the Scriptures and who stimulate our own appetite for God’s Word.
READING–Revelation 1:3. We need to read the Bible for ourselves so that we can get a broad overview of the Biblical message. Many people find it helpful to use a daily reading program which takes them systematically through the Bible.
STUDYING–Acts 17:11. Studying the Scriptures leads to personal discoveries of God’s truths. Writing down these discoveries will help us organize and remember what we have learned.
MEMORIZING–Psalm 119:9, 11. Memorizing God’s Word helps us to overcome the temptations we face on a daily basis. As a temptation comes our way, if we have memorized God’s Word, it helps to fortify us against that temptation. Memorizing key Bible verses is also helpful as we seek to help others in their spiritual journey.
MEDITATING– Psalm 1:2, 3. Meditation is used in conjunction with each of the other methods. Only as we meditate on God’s Word—thinking about its meaning and application in our lives—will we discover its life-transforming power.
When you combine all five of these practices together on a regular basis: hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating, you will become a Romans 12:1-2 Christian, and that is something that we should all aspire to. It is God’s will for us. It is the proper response to the grace He has shown us.
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- Determine to renew your mind by (1) filtering out the destructive toxins that come your way through the media and ungodly relationships, and (2) feasting your mind on the truths of God’s Word.
- Schedule weekly time to get a handle on God’s Word by using the “Bible Hand” method.