Go Beyond Just Good Morals to True Transformation
- Thursday, October 11, 2007
Ask God to give you a mouth that can speak well. Recognize the incredible power of words – they can either build up or destroy nations, families, churches, careers, or businesses. Control your speech so you don’t unleash destructive power through negative words. But rather than just avoiding negative speech, strive to speak positive words as often as possible. Realize that if you allow your mouth to become God’s servant, there’s no end to the good He can accomplish through you. Invite God to use your mouth to encourage, instruct, and occasionally confront others, as He leads.
Ask God to give you ears that hear well. Know that while it’s good to avoid listening to gossip, lies, vile talk, and hate speech, God calls you to do more. Tune your ears to what is pure, holy, right, just, and divinely ordained. Learn how to test whether or not a certain message you hear may be from God: Figure out if it lines up with the truths revealed in the Bible, if it’s consistent with the witness of the universal church, if there’s any sin in your life that you haven’t confessed and repented of (which will block your spiritual healing until you deal with it properly), and if you’ve built the kind of intimacy with God that enables you to become familiar with His voice speaking to you. Expect that, the more time you spend listening to God, the easier it will be for you to naturally turn to Him for His wisdom in any situation.
Ask God to give you a mind that thinks well. Understand that your thoughts don’t have to rule you; God can help you rule them through the power of His Holy Spirit. Pray for the Spirit to renew your mind, and cooperate with Him in the process. Become a diligent student, reading, studying, and meditating on the Bible often. Read some classic devotional books written by believers who lived throughout history, and learn from their experiences. Give up lesser pursuits to free up more time to pursue God’s wisdom; eliminate distractions wherever you can in your life. Turn your thoughts away from evil and toward good. Whenever a destructive thought enters your mind, take it captive by refusing to dwell on it, and replace it with a holy thought that reflects God’s truth. Know that training your mind to think wisely will also enable you to choose wise actions, because your thoughts and behaviors influence each other. Rather than focusing just on trying to modify your outward behavior, focus on thinking like Jesus so you’ll be transformed from the inside out.
Ask God to use your hands and feet to serve Him well. If you’re feeling frustrated with God, honestly consider that it may be because you’re expecting God to answer your prayers according to your agenda. Surrender your agenda to God’s agenda, trusting that He knows what’s best for you since He created you and has a much larger perspective on your life. Instead of accusing God for what He’s not doing, ask Him what you’re supposed to be doing. Know that in whatever situation you’re currently serving God, your call is simply to be faithful to God’s will in each moment. Rather than trying to do God’s will in your own power, ask Jesus to empower you to do God’s will.
Ask God to give you a heart that feels what He feels. Don’t let the stress of life’s demands crowd out what should be your top priority – cultivating intimacy with God. Devote plenty of time and energy to nurturing a close relationship with God, no matter what else you have to do in any season of life. Allow God’s greatness to inspire awe and reverence in your soul. See sin for what it is – a repulsive rebellion against God – and thank God for forgiving your sins through Jesus. Rather than just giving up sinful pleasures, replace them with eternal pleasures by transferring your affection and passion to God and pursuing what matters most to Him. Guard your heart so that you’re giving your passion only to God and not to lesser pursuits. Pray for God to help you love other people as He wants you to love them. Worship God regularly to keep lifting your focus beyond your own concerns and to what’s on God’s heart.
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