If you’ve ever tried to change something about yourself, then you know just how difficult it can be. Changing your daily routine to include more exercise is difficult. Switching to a healthier diet takes dedication. Even something as small as picking up the house on a daily basis can be difficult. When you want to make some sort of change in your life, it seems that everything else is working toward keeping you right where you’re at. Change rarely comes easy.
And any sort of behavior modification can be even more tiresome. In Romans 12:2 we read that we are not to be conformed to the pattern of this world, but we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. It is incredibly difficult to try to change your thinking patterns. And if we try to change ourselves into “good Christians” we will never succeed. That verse doesn’t say, change yourself. It says, let God transform you. This takes the pressure off us and puts it in God’s hands.
But how exactly does this transformation take place? How do we go from loving the things of this world to despising them? I used to read the beginning of Romans 12 and get so convicted. If I had professed faith in Christ, then why wasn’t my life radically different from how I used to be? It seemed that my life lacked any sort of transformation. Although some things didn’t change instantly, other things did. I became more aware of the things of God. I began to see things from a fresh perspective. And things that I used to think were normal, I now viewed as inherently wrong. This minute change in my worldview was the beginning of God transforming my mind.
Now that I know more of the Word, my heart longs for further transformation. Instead of seeking outward transformation, I now seek inward, heart transformation. And sometimes when I find myself lacking the ability to reflect Christ’s love toward others I wonder why. Why have I fallen back into my selfish thought patterns? Only thinking of what my desires are, what I deserve and what my rights are. This way of thinking is terribly contradictory to God’s Word, and yet it is such an easy pit to fall into (at least for me it is!).
Tonight I was reminded again of just how graciously God can transform us. As I spent some good quality time reading God’s Word, my mind slowly began to shift. And as my heart was convicted by the Holy Spirit, my thoughts turned more toward His love and away from my selfish desires. So instead of defending my “rights” I became a servant, desiring to bring glory to God by serving those around me, namely my husband.
So how did this change happen? By spending time reading the Bible. It seems obvious, but something as simple as reading the Word can easily be overlooked. When we go to the Bible looking for answers, we can often be rushed in our search for just the right scripture. And we get frustrated when nothing jumps out at us. But I don’t think that’s how God wants us to approach His Word. If we want to be transformed into Christ’s likeness, then we must spend adequate time discovering who He is. And this only comes by intentionally spending time reading the Word.
Now I’m not talking a verse here, a verse there, and maybe a sermon on Sunday. It’s more than that. It’s time. Day in and day out. Time spent away from the busyness of the world and solely focused on one thing. Jesus. Without this intentional time spent learning who God is, how can we ever expect to be transformed by His Word? We must know what the Word says if we are to let it transform our minds.
So take some time today, if you haven’t already, and really dig in. Spend more than 10 minutes reading the Bible, and wait to see God move in your life!