World or Word: we either conform to the world or be transformed by the Word

“Do not conform any longer 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” -Romans12:2

Last Friday night was one of the best nights of my life. Other than the thought of meeting up with special siblings in Christ, I knew I will be seeing trees and trees on the mountains so the idea of going to Antipolo with my Saturday-bible-study-group kept me literally cheerful the whole day.

It was already late when we arrived at the place, so after having our fill of fish (OR chicken),  we spent  the night meditating on God’s Word and lifting all our personal and ministry concerns to Him in prayer.

The following day, I woke up excited to hear God’s Word through my personal study, and wait for sunrise. So I had my quiet time. I sat at a nicely carved bench with my journal and bible. The place is so quiet that you cannot hear anything but the sound of soft wind blowing and birds chirping.

I started by whispering a prayer; but for the next 15mins of reading God’s Word, I realized nothing was really getting in. All that I was thinking about were: facebooking, blogging, the “ministry” we came for at the mountain to pray about, the trees, and a lot of other things. The place around me was so quiet but the noise was inside my mind.  I was hearing my thoughts. And I realized how polluted my mind was. I got excited to hear His voice early in the morning but my mind was filled with a lot of unnecessary things that it could not welcome God’s Word.

That morning, I set to study Psalm19. But before I could do that, I thought God wanted me to learn (and apply) something else:  Renewing of Mind!  Romans12:2!

I. The Command: Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”Romans12:2a

When we put our trust to God, as John Piper would say, our “bondage to the world and its overpowering lure is broken”. As we died with Him, and live with Him, we have been set apart from the world and became a “new creation”. That is justification. I think verse2a is talking about sanctification. Sanctification, now, is the process of setting us apart from this world, in conforming us in the image of Christ.

In my personal study, this is how we renew our minds:

1.Do not think like how the world thinks

Whenever I get reminded of the command in Romans12, I always take the verse to mean: studying God’s Word and figuring what He desires so that I would know what He wants for me and where He is leading me. That is true. But I just learned that renewing one’s mind, first and foremost means cleaning our minds by emptying it from all unnecessary thoughts. Everything that is not of Him.

2. Enough of the selfish thoughts

The more we push our dreams and desires to God, without wearing an attitude of submission for His will, is like a “chase after the wind”. It is “meaningless” as described in the book of Ecclesiastes. I just thought that “insisting” to God without considering what He really wants, leaves no room in our hearts for His voice.

Yes, we can insist. In fact the bible teaches us to pray fervently, without ceasing.  But how do we know His will, if all we choose to listen to are our voices?

3.  “be transformed by the renewing of your mind”. Meditate on God’s word.

The Word of God brings transformation. We renew our minds by occupying it with Jesus Christ; and that results to a transformation. It is Christ who transforms us.

Romans12:2  tells us two things: we either conform to the world or be transformed by the Word.  First, we empty our hearts and minds by asking God to cleanse us from everything that is not of Him; and then we ask Him to fill us with the fullness of Him. This reminds me of a verse: “blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God”-Matthew5:8.

II. The promise: “Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– His good, pleasing and perfect will” -Romans12:2b

Less of this world, gives more room for His Word. Focusing not on ourselves, increases the volume of His voice. Then we will be able to hear clearly what He is speaking to us.

less of us and  more of You, Jesus =)

less of us and more of You, Jesus =)

Work-in-Progress: Preserved

You are like that bud of rose. Already beautiful in its current state, but has not yet fully bloomed.  It should not be touched, otherwise it will be destroyed. It should not be picked out of the soil, otherwise it will soon wither away. It should be handled gently and nurtured everyday. It needs fertilizer, enough sunlight, and a good soil.

You are like that rose. You have to be nurtured moment by moment, reminded of how beautiful and special you are in His eyes. It comes with painful pruning sometimes though, if He has to remove anything that hinders your growth in Him. He has to cultivate your soil (heart) by removing the impure.

Above all, you  need  to be rooted in God’s Word in order for you grow in the likeness of His Son Jesus Christ, just as He wanted it to be. His Word is like a fertilizer for every flower. His Word will shape you to be the kind of woman He wants you to be.  And just like that bud of rose who has not yet bloomed into a full-size flower, you too, though perfectly imperfect, are being perfected by our Father in heaven.

only God defines your true value! (photoby:www.google.com)

Only God defines your true value. Photo by: www.google.com

 You can not force a flower to bloom! Ofcourse, it takes time! 

Work-in-Progress: “made good under pressure”

“A diamond is a chunk of coal that is made good under pressure.” -Henry Kissinger

This is an old line often quoted by people who wish to encourage a person drowned with trials and faced with troubles. The diamond is used as a metaphor to refer to a person whose faith has been tested many times, and yet turned out to glitter and sparkle more every time, like this precious stone.

This is just one of those poetic illustrations of a biblical truth:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  -James1:2-4

James1:2-4 is one of the sweetest words in the bible, which brings encouragement to the hurting people of God. The Christian life goes through a cycle: one part of it is the season of the “testing of our faith“. The verse above tells us to be joyful even when we are in the middle of this season. Not because we are crushed. Not because we are hurting; but because something good is waiting for those whose faith is tested: the gift of perseverance, and eventually, maturity, not lacking anything.

I am convinced that such season is a perfect time for us to be polished for our luster to appear brighter. It develops the one single thing that defines the beauty of a person: CHARACTER.

If we take every test of faith with a humble attitude, teachable heart, ears that listen to God’s voice, and actions that show obedience to Christ, we will surely turn-out to be the kind of people God wants us to be—shining like a diamond to reflect His glory. Although at the moment, nothing seems to make sense. Although at the moment, everything seems so vague.

One of my loved sisters in Christ once told me “No true disciple of God, ever regretted following /obeying Jesus” =)