“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2
I was raised in the church. My family volunteered for just about everything. We were there early and we stayed late. Regular church services, prayer meetings, special services . . . we were there for all of them.
While these experiences established a fine Christian upbringing, one of the adverse outcomes was that I developed a poor perception of the spiritual disciplines.
I viewed them as demanding and burdensome because of the way some people around me modeled those disciplines. I also falsely believed that I needed to practice these disciplines to gain the approval of God. This thought was more of a subtle inference than an outright claim. Nevertheless, I believed it.
I now know that this is not true. The spiritual disciplines bring so much hope! In Romans 12:2, Paul explained that the renewing of our minds will produce transformation. Nothing is more hope-bringing than transformation. And there is not a more excellent way to renew our minds than through practicing the spiritual disciplines.
One of the disciplines that most clearly brings renewal to our minds is the study of and meditation on God’s Word. When I approach God’s Word with the expectation to hear from Him and to interact with the Holy Spirit, He is there.
I like to sit down with the Bible, read a passage slowly, maybe even several times, until I sense God’s voice. Then I meditate on that passage and the insight that God has given me. Many times, that insight calls for action and obedience. Over time, my mind is renewed and, ideally, my life becomes a greater reflection of Christ Himself.
Think of some of the other spiritual disciplines like solitude, silence, fasting, service, prayer, worship, sacrifice, fellowship, and submission. While each of these helps renew our minds, are there any that stick out to you as particularly helpful?
The spiritual disciplines invite us into the Lord’s presence where our minds can be truly renewed and our lives transformed. We are then filled with a greater sense of hope.
Prayer for the week: Loving Father, You desire for us to have the mind of Christ. As we seek You this week, help us embrace and practice the disciplines, so we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Thank You for the hope we experience through the transformation that You bring about in us.
Steve Hoffman is the district superintendent of the Prairie Lakes District Church of the Nazarene (Minnesota, North and South Dakotas).
Written for Coffee Break.