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Do You Seriously Want a Radically Transformed Life?

Do You Seriously Want a Radically Transformed Life?

It’s tragically sad but true, that most Christians are hell bent (!) on squandering the new life that Jesus died and rose again to bring them.

Statistically – based on the research I reported on in a recent blog – the one thing, the only thing that strongly correlates with radically reduced sin and radically transformed lives, is engaging with God’s Word four times a week or more.

And most Christians don’t. Why?

Mostly it’s because we don’t know how to engage with the Bible in a life-changing way.
But that’s all about to change!

Here are the 4 R’s of engaging with God’s Word and seeing your life transformed. None of it’s rocket science, but do these 4 simple things, day after day after day – and your life will change … radically. According to God. Confirmed by the research (acknowledgements here to Arnie Cole and the Center for Bible Engagement, USA).

 

1.  Retreat

Figure out a quiet time that you can set aside to spend with God most days of the week. At least four days, preferably more. It might take some rearrangement of your schedule – but then, if Jesus rang and told you He was coming over for dinner and a chat Thursday night, you’d rearrange your schedule … right?

And find a place where there are no distractions. Disconnect from social media, withdraw from the rat race … just for this short time, each day. It’ll be the most important change you’ll ever make in your life, after deciding to follow Jesus.

But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matt. 6:6)

*

2.  Read

Read just a small passage of the Bible. The Gospel of Matthew is a great place to start. I tend to cycle between an Old Testament book this time, and when I’ve read through that – sometimes it takes a few months – I go on to a New Testament book, one time a Gospel, another time one of the letters.

It’s mind-blowingly amazing how many times God has given me just the spiritual food, just the wisdom and insight I need for today, in the very next few verses I was due to read. It’s like manna from heaven.

I don’t read large slabs each day. I go for no more than half a chapter and sometimes it’s only a few verses. I read them slowly, deliberately, trying to pick up what’s going on. It’s like eating, feasting … on the bread of life. This is the spiritual health food you have been hungering for.

He humbled you causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna … to teach you that man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.  (Deut. 8:3)

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3.  Reflect

This is the bit that people so often don’t do. We skim read – yep, I read my Bible today; tick in the box. But reading the Bible without reflecting on what God is saying, is like biting off a chunk freshly baked bread, without chewing it … or swallowing it.

It’s nice … but it doesn’t do you any good!

I reflect on what God’s saying by asking questions: What’s going on here? What’s the difference between the talent and the denarius in this parable and what does that mean? Why did the disciples want Jesus to go with Jairus, and not stop for the bleeding woman? How come God did it that way? What was Jehoshaphat’s first reaction when he was afraid? How does that compare with what I would have done?

I ask God lots of questions about His Word? And often times, I’m thinking in background about what I read this morning, throughout the day.

Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in all things. (2 Tim 2:7)

*

4.  Receive

By now, the Holy Spirit is usually talking with me, putting His finger on something – because He wants His Word to change my life. Here’s a case example.

The other morning, I was reading the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matt 18:23-35). The master forgives one slave a debt of 10,000 talents, but that same slave then refuses to forgive a fellow slave a debt of 100 denarii. My question was – what’s the ratio between those two amounts. Turns out that a talent was around 15 year’s wages and a denarius just one day’s wage for a labourer. Do the maths, and the master forgave the first slave 547,500 times more, than that slave refused to forgive his fellow slave.

There’s a point in that right? God’s anger at unforgiveness now makes sense. That led me to reflect on how much and how often and at what price God has forgiven me. It drove me to prayer – Lord who is it that I haven’t fully forgiven yet. God spoke to me in reply, and some change began to happen in my life.

Now … and only now, has the Word of God led to radical transformation in my life.

I needed to retreat, read, reflect … and receive. Now I’ve begun to feed on the Bread of Life, the Word of God. Now His goodness is flowing through my veins. Now, the sacrifice of Jesus is having a massive impact in my life.

Transformation has just begun!

I am the bread of life.

Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh …

… Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them …

Because of this, many disciples turned back and no longer went around with him.

(John 6:48-66)


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12 Comments

  1. That is an amazing truth that escapes many Christians. First there was the WORD then the word became man. We need our minds renewed so we can hear from God. More world without the word = worldly decisions, more WORD = Godly decisions. Whatever we input more of we become more like. Praise God for providing this spiritual food that feeds our souls, lets not starve ourselves.

  2. Hi Berni and all reading this. May God richly bless you all with his amazing and everlasting peace.
    Thanks for that Berni. Good to be reminded!

    Valentina

  3. What really encouraged me with this Berni was the fact that your reading is in small bits! I tend to read just a chapter a day. And a piece from Rick Warren I found helpful: read a verse multiple times, emphasising each word progressivley. EG This is the day the Lord has made. THIS is..This IS.. This is THE.. This is the DAY etc and meditating on the emphasisied word. Good for me anyway! 🙂

    • That’s right Steve I do read in small bits. But there’s another part to reading the Bible. Sometimes when I’m on holidays I’ll sit down and read a whole book.

      In fact one of the most profound experiences of my life, was the first time (at Bible college) I read a whole Gospel account in one sitting.

      The sweep and the power of the story blew me away.

      So I guess what I’m saying is that it’s important to understand God’s big story too. It’s amazing how many Christians – even though they’ve been going to church for 20 years – don’t have a picture in their head of Israel’s Salvation History as told in the Old Testament.

      So when they read this Psalm, or that part out of second Kings, or Isaiah Chapter 41 … they don’t know where it fits in the overall story. They don’t have the context.

      And if we don’t have the context, we don’t really know what it means.

  4. Friends – I tend to require a little structure around everything I do on a regular basis. I’m sure many would agree that “Our Daily Bread” from RBC Ministries provides a good way to start getting into the Word every day. Here’s their site: http://odb.org/subscriptions/

    Also within this daily guide, there’s a little section for “Bible in a Year” which helps you to schedule your journey thru the bible if your goal is to read it end-to-end. I myself have fallen behind, but just having started it is keeping me going. I hope to complete the bible for my first time in a year-and-a-half. I needed a little extra time also because I’m a Catholic Christian, and the Catholic version has a few extra books 🙂 I believe “Our Daily Bread” quotes from the New King James version.

  5. Thanks Berni. I intend to email this to as many of my friends as i can. The ONE thing my (earthly) father taught me was to read my bible each day. During years of raising young children and other business pressures, i neglected to start the day with His word each day. Now it is different and i love to delve into it just as you have mentioned in the 4 points. Where would I be without it?

  6. Thanks Berni – you have a real gift in communicating things in a simple, deep and transformative way

    • Thanks Deborah. Welcome to the blog. 🙂

      Berni

  7. I too am being woken in the night
    I am finding that this is my most important interceding time

  8. Thanks Berni for your commitment to helping others grow in Christ. This post was very timely for me as I have always struggled to get into Gods Word properly and I know I need to! And John Lu, thank you for your post, it spoke to me also and showed me where Ive gone under recently in my walk with God. God bless you both.

  9. Thanks Bermi for continually showing the way for a closer walk and relationship with Jesus

  10. Great Great Great Great post Berni!!!!!

    I couldn’t sleep last night, so in the middle of the night I decided, well I can’t sleep, I might as well pick up the bible and do some reading…
    And I also came across the Gospel of Matthew…

    Just got hooked on that part in which Jesus was walking in water…

    28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

    29 “Come,” he said.

    Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

    Just like Peter…, How many times Jesus helped me to walked on water…, and just like Peter.., how many times I have saw the wind and was afraid and asked just like Peter…”Lord, Save me Save me”.
    Even though I was already walking on water (Literally)
    Why do I doubt so much? –> And I believe the answer is below…
    I doubt because I’m weak…, and I’m weak because I’m running on mostly on empty and…

    Indeed, like God says to me (because He knows me the best), the only thing that can fill me is the bread of life.

    Just don’t take my word or Berni’s word…, Try it yourself…
    You will find that it’s nothing you ever tried before.

    Amen to the 4 Rs.

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