Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what the will of God is—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Take a Moment to Ponder
Distractions are all around us. There are a myriad of things that oftentimes distract us from what really matters and sadly their power over us goes unnoticed. Our smartphones for example, though a relatively small device, act as shackles that hold us hostage. They consume a significant portion of our time that could be spent engaging in activities that are meaningful. Then a simple progression begins to emerge: distractions leads to shallow thinking which in turn leads to shallow living.
It’s no wonder why Paul tries to realign our focus in his letter to the Roman church. He urges us to shift our focus to what or rather who really matters: God, knowing Him and doing His will. He calls us to not be conformed to the patterns of this world. A world marked by greed, obsession with self and a lack of love for each other but instead to be transformed by renewing our minds. But therein lies our great challenge: conquering our distractions and exercising the discipline required to retreat and enjoy fellowship with God. Jesus said it best in Matthew 6:33, “but seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” To seek God’s kingdom and righteousness means we spend time in His word so that we may know His good, acceptable and perfect will and having learned what it is, to actually do it. The good thing is that Jesus not only said it best, but He also lived it best when He frequently went somewhere secluded by Himself to pray.
Let us, therefore, be intentional, follow His example and shift our focus today from our screens and instead gaze intently on Jesus who makes life worth living and gives it in abundance.
Commit today to spend more time in God’s word. A small step each day will soon build a habit that will last a lifetime. As you read, follow the REAP (Read, Examine, Apply, Pray) method to process what you have read:
Open your Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to teach, correct, and train you (2 Timothy 3:16). As you’re reading, ask these questions:
- What is happening in this passage? What things are emphasized, repeated, related?
- What do you see about God? What is God doing in this passage?
- What do you see about man?
- Look for key words or phrases (verbs, repeated words and phrases), connecting words
- Look for primary themes (big ideas, central truth or command)
- Look for who, what, when, where, why and how
Spend some time reflecting. Ask yourself these questions, and write down your thoughts:
- How do you think the author wants his [original] audience to respond?
- What do you learn about God’s character?
- What wrong beliefs about God and myself did I have?
- Look for context (before and after this passage)
- Used different translations for clarifications
- Uses cross references (let scripture interpret scripture – God can’t contradict Himself)
After examining the passage, apply the text to your own life. Ask yourself these questions:
- How do I need to repent? What truths do I need to believe? What false beliefs must I turn from?
- What can I do – empowered by the Holy Spirit – today to apply this passage?
Pray through the passage and your application, asking God to change your heart and to change your life, based on the time you’ve spent in God’s Word
A Moment in Prayer
Gracious Father, you who cause light to shine in darkness, dispel from us all that prevents us from knowing and loving you as we ought. Enable us by your grace to do your good, pleasing and perfect will and to abide in your son, our saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
Contributed by: Adrian Wallace
St. Michael’s, Victoria Avenue