Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 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 12:1,2
The first time I read through the entire Bible systematically was during my year at Bible college as a class assignment.
Though there was a great sense of accomplishment for reading the entire Bible, it wasn’t enough. For multiple years I fell behind after the book of Exodus when the readings were mostly lists of families or rules for sacrifices. Even when I tried plans that mixed up Old and New Testament readings, I’d miss a few days, and give up.
My earliest teachings were that I should begin the day with a quiet time, starting my day with God.
It was a set-up for failure when I had to get my family and myself out of the house by 7:30 a.m. Returning after long, taxing days, feeding the family, and often attending an evening activity seemed to absorb every minute. Some days I barely managed to offer a nutritious tidbit and keep the clothes clean, dry, and wearable.
My quiet times were sporadic at best, and most often neglected.
Nearly three years ago, a new friend invited me to read through the New Testament in a chronological Bible. It seemed more do-able.
- I discovered that the format of Bible readings for each day were grace-filled, allowing me to jump in on the date rather than feeling I had to catch up on a missed reading.
- I broke through my expectation of reading first thing in the morning.
- On-line discussion drew me to the reading whenever I had a chance.
After successfully-more or less, as I missed a day here and there-completing the New Testament, I accepted the challenge to read through the entire Bible in 2014. And I invited members of our church to join me.
The format of the printed Bible and accountability of a group have helped me continue to read God’s Word consistently.
The second year, it was fun to make connections or comparisons of Scripture that I’d not seen or heard a teaching on before.
Nearly three years later, I’m discovering that my mind is being renewed. Last week, at training sessions in which I have a leadership position, my mind went to an example in the Bible to help illustrate the situation we faced.
The first year I read through the Bible, I was probably a bit legalistic about it. But it is becoming a necessary part of my day.
“We don’t do the renewing, we simply subject ourselves to it. We submit our mind to God and let Him fill it with His truth. He is the guardian of our makeover.” From “Indeed: Exploring the Heart of God” from Walk Thru the Bible
In my garden, I can provide healthy plants, enriched soil, in a location with sunlight and water when the rains don’t come often enough, and keep the weeds out of the space. However, I cannot do anything to make the plants grow and produce fruit.
Likewise, I expose myself to God’s Word, eliminate the negative inputs around me, but the Holy Spirit is the one remaking me to be more like Christ.
If you want your mind renewed and transformed, join me in the Bible reading adventure. It will help you learn to walk by faith!