Section 2: The Bible
Week 3: The Bible Is Necessary
Day 3: We Need the Bible to Grow Spiritually
Rom. 12:1-2, 1 Pet. 2:2
Our minds play a vital role in our spiritual growth because our thoughts influence our actions and our actions shape who we are. That means we can’t change who we are without first changing the way we think.
The Need for Renewed Minds
That’s what Paul is getting at in Rom. 12:2. “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.”
God wants us to be like him. To become like him, we need to think like him. And that’s why we need the Bible to grow spiritually. It’s the place where our thoughts come into contact with God’s thoughts.
Most of us realize we should be reading our bibles. We may not realize just how much we need the Bible though. We tend to forget that we’re inundated by the world’s perspective every day because we are constantly taking in the world’s thoughts. How often are we exposed to God’s thoughts? Once a week? That disparity has a greater impact on our thinking than we realize.
Suppose your diet consists mainly of cheese, chips, and bacon, but once a week you add in one salad (with lots of blue cheese dressing and bacon bits). Can one salad combat the effects of everything else you’re eating? No, of course not.
The same is true when it comes to our minds. Exposing ourselves to God’s thoughts once a week doesn’t offset our constant exposure to the world’s thoughts. Here’s an example of how the world can impact our thinking without our even being aware of it.
The Way the World Impacts Our Thinking
It’s been off the air for quite a while now, but there was a show I liked called Frasier. Frasier’s brother Niles had a crush on their dad’s in-home physical therapist, Daphne. Daphne had no idea Niles liked her. Eventually Niles moves on and gets married. But, when Daphne gets engaged, Frasier, for some reason, tells her about Niles’ feelings. It turns out she has similar feelings for Niles. When Frasier tells Niles that, he decides to do something drastic. On the day of the wedding, in dramatic fashion, Niles swoops in, expresses his undying love for Daphne, and they run off together. Romantic! Right? Two star-crossed lovers find a way to be together. What could be better than that?
That’s how most of the fans felt anyway, including many Christians. I know I was one of them. But what about Niles’ wife? Should I really be cheering for divorce? From God’s perspective, what I was celebrating was abhorrent (Mal. 2:16). How could I miss that?
I missed it because I had allowed the show to subtly shape the way I felt about the characters and their circumstances. Without even realizing it, I started to look at things the way the characters looked at things, which reflected the writers’ values rather than God’s.
The same thing happens every day in countless ways. The world in subtle and not-so-subtle ways tries to conform us into its image. The more our thoughts conform to the world’s thoughts, the more our actions are going to conform to the world’s actions. Not exactly what God wants for us.
To counter those effects, we need to make a greater effort to replace the world’s thoughts with God’s thoughts by spending more time studying his word.
List the three most significant ways the world influences you.
Have those influences had a negative impact on you? If so, how? What can you do to counteract them?