Summary: Understanding the disciplines in everyday Christian life.
Series: Discipline – Week 2
Scripture: Romans 12:2
Title: How to be transformed through the Word of God
Focus: Establishment of Spiritual Disciplines
Introduction: Discipline is the total transformation of self. Spiritual discipline is a quest to change what you once were (old self) into what you now are (life in Christ). In this series we are trying to get you out of self-destructive habits and into new habits that enhance your life. (I have come to give you life to the full” [John 10:10]).
• Question: Why study/ready the Bible?
• Answer: I believe that it isn’t that you don’t want to study/read your Bible, but that you have a hard time convincing yourself that the Bible is important enough to read/study. So this is the argument to get you into the Word of God.
Point #1: True Study starts in the Mind (Transformation - Romans 12:2)
• Explanation: Paul says that Christians are transformed by the renewing of their minds. Where is the source of transformation? (Is it Self or Spirit?)
o Self: The world will tell you are the source to transform yourself. You can do what you want to do. This is your life. Live it up! Is argument is built completely on your own understanding (no wisdom). Where does it get you?
o Spirit: Paul says in 2 Cor. 3:18, “we (Christians) are being transformed into the same image (Christ) from one degree to another… This comes from the Lord who is Spirit”. Paul says that transformation (foundation) comes the Holy Spirit (what you received when trusting Christ). This means that the Holy Spirit (free gift of God) leads us to justification (I was once in sin – old self), then to sanctification (I am now being made like Christ – new self), to one-day glorification (one day restored to the full image of Christ – future self). This is not done alone but with help from the source.
• Illustration: Laptop is a created object that is useless unless given the proper power source. It will run off self for a limited time until it needs another source.
• Application: How does this relate to personal Bible study/reading? Currently you have the power to run by yourself but what will you do to renew your mind when the power runs out? For some of you the power has already run out and there is wonder if you will ever be renewed again.
o NOTE: The mind can be changed if you apply things to it that will properly transform it. The mind is the control center of your attitudes, thoughts, feelings, and actions (Eph. 4:22-23).
o Will you let Christ renew your mind or will you remain on yourself for the source of power?
o Do you believe that God’s truth (the Bible) is the proper source for your life?
• This will change perspective and alter how you approach the Bible
Point #2: The Four Steps of Personal Study
1. Repetition – Transformation through Reproduction
o Explanation: Repetition helps channel your mind in a specific direction. When we repeat a certain habit over and over again it trains our mind to repeat certain affirmations (example: God’s attributes).
o Illustration: Television Shows re-airs programming to make sure the information contained is received (example: sons of guns)
o Application: When we are repeat reading the Word of God over and over again we will find ourselves responding to the reading by doing what it says without having much thought. Do what the Bible says means reading what it says.
• Verse: Matthew 16:24 “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily”.
2. Concentration: Transformation through Absorption
o Explanation: Not only must we read the Bible but also we have to concentrate on the content contained in the text. Concentration centers (or helps to focus) the mind. Your mind has an ability to centralize concentration. When disciplined, the mind will absorb the text more if all energy is focused upon it.
o Illustration: Schoolwork is done sometimes with music playing or the television on. The mind can only devote so much energy to one thing if we are in a state of multi-tasking.
o Application: The energy that you exhibit in concentration shows the value you place on what you are engaging in. The Word of God deserves our full attention and concentration as God has given us life and a letter written on how to live for Him.
• Verse: Acts 2:42 “They devoted themselves.”
3. Comprehension: Transformation through Understanding
o Explanation: If we read repeatedly and concentrate with all our energy but do not understand what we are reading, we will fail to reach the level that God has for His people. This is the area where most people choose to “give up”.