For a year now, I have been wanting to start a Sunday tradition of sharing a Bible study/devotional type of post. I didn't have a plan for a long time and still don't. But I'm going with the flow. When I read something that encourages my soul or come across a verse or passage that brings me to wonder at the beauty of God, then I want to share that with others. Today is a great day to begin, and this verse is the perfect place to start. Especially with a new year just barely beginning.
I am happy to introduce you to a new weekly series here on the blog entitled, "Being Steeped in the Sacred". As you read this post, I think you will understand why I chose that particular name...
Do not be conformed to world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Most every follower of Christ has a treasure trove of verses. Passages of Scripture that have spoken directly to the depth of your soul. Passages of encouragement, conviction and beauty. This is one of my verses. Long ago, I claimed it and tucked it inside my heart, to keep and treasure.
In the words that we read here, we are reminded that as Christians we cannot live like the world. We are not to be moulded by the pressures of the sinful world. We are to experience a transformation- a new way of thinking made possible by the power of the Holy Spirit. The words "by testing" show us that we are to be discerning, that way we will know what is good, true and right. We cannot call ourselves Christian and yet live the way the world does. Your life must show evidence of your faith. James 2:24 reminds us that we are not justified by faith alone, but justified also by our works. The phrase "by faith alone" is used only once in the entire Bible, and when it is used in James, it says that we are NOT saved by faith alone. We must take the Bible for what It truly says and not reform what it says to fit our lives, to justify what we are doing or believing. The Word is Truth.
Take to heart this explanation, "The Church teaches that salvation is a process of becoming holier and holier through time. All of this is a work of grace that God performs in our hearts through faith. Works done in faith are the natural completion of believing in Christ. As we trust and do God’s work, he instils within us more grace so that we may become holier and so be ready to meet him at the end of our life."
We do not make ourselves holy; God makes us holy. It is Christ Who sanctifies us, giving us endless grace as He perfects us and makes us holy and entirely blameless. Becoming holy is a journey that lasts a lifetime; not a one-time-occurrence. "Jesus did not teach that salvation came from man obeying God’s law apart from God’s grace. But neither did Jesus teach that salvation consists only of being justified by faith in him"
How can one renew their mind? First and foremost, by living in the Word. When you brew a cup of tea, you place a tea bag in a cup of boiling water. The longer the tea bag sits in the hot, steaming water, the stronger the tea will taste. The darker the colour and more potent the scent. The same is true for a woman of faith. The longer you sit with the Word open, reading it, soaking it in, pondering it, the stronger your faith will grow. The closer you will be with Christ. You will become more holy, more like Him. Indeed, renewing your mind.
The more time you spend in the Word, steeping yourself in the wisdom and truth that it beholds, the more your life, your works, will line up with God's Word. Your works flow from your heart, from your faith. Both are essential for salvation, for one cannot get to heaven by believing alone. After all, Satan believes in God, yet he is not in heaven. The Sacred Scriptures show us the right way to live, a way that is pleasing to God. We must simply, sit, and steep ourselves in the Truths found in the pages of that Holy Book. When we do, we renew our minds, and in turn, journey a bit more towards holiness and becoming more and more like Christ.