Want to make changes in your life for 2017? Reading the Bible can change your life in so many ways… at least 50 but there are many more ways. How can it change your life?
“Everything in the Scriptures is God’s Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live. The Scriptures train God’s servants to do all kinds of good deeds.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
24: Be Stronger Than Your Temptations – Even you live by a moral code, you will face challenges to your convictions. Temptation found Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It found Jesus in the wilderness. And it will find you – likely when you’re at your most vulnerable point. As the author of Proverbs 6 recommended, meditating on the principles that form the core of who you are and who you should be is a great first step in resisting temptation. The practice of reflection can be a helpful tool.
23: Choose Your Associates Carefully – Solomon, the author of Proverbs 4, understood that the ability to distinguish between good and bad people is crucial to spiritual and physical health. Before you allow someone else to influence you, try to ascertain a few things about their character.
22: Develop Humility – Your role is to make the most of what God has given you. While you can take pride in your efforts, be sure the lion’s share of credit is not misplaced. To be humble is to be comfortable outside of the spotlight. Rather than pursue fame and call attention to yourself, work to become a person of quiet confidence, one who is quick to put God-given abilities to use – and even quicker to acknowledge the contributions of others.
21: Spend Some Time in Nature – Once upon a time, that didn’t take much effort. People’s work, play, and relaxation all took place outside. Nature was a constant companion. Many of us today have precious little contact with the natural world. Urbanization, technological advances, and the demand for comfort and convenience have reduced the number of hours we spend outside. Why not reverse the trend?
20: Let Peace Start with You – As followers of Jesus, we are called to be peacemakers, which means justice and peace should both be high on our priority list. But where do we go from there? We can be slow to confront. We can be quick to say, “I’m sorry.” We can stand against injustice – in any form.
19: Listen Hard, Listen Well – The best gift you can give anyone is a listening ear. To listen to someone is to say, “You are important to me. I want to learn more about what you think and feel.” That’s why James recommended it so highly: “My dear friends, you should be quick to listen and slow to speak or to get angry” (James 1:19).
18: Know When to Let Others Help – The do-it-yourself mentality runs deep in our culture. We prize independence and celebrate people who take care of themselves and others. The apostle Paul, however, challenged that mind-set in his letter to the Galatians: “You obey the law of Christ when you offer each other a helping hand” (Galatians 6:2).
17: Embrace Your Weakness – The apostle Paul suffered from some sort of physical ailment. Paul’s weakness made him a more effective leader. When God did not relieve him of his physical condition, Paul accepted the response with grace and gratitude. His faith didn’t waiver. The people who looked to him for guidance found strength to accept their own shortcomings and afflictions.
16: Be a Stealthy Giver – If you want to give in a way that pleases God, here’s what to do: don’t advertise it, cut all strings to it, forget about it (give the gift quietly, thank God for allowing you to give, move on). Maintain a proper perspective. No matter how generous you are; you still receive infinitely more from God than you give to others. No one out gives God. That’s why humility must always run hand in hand with generosity.
15: Keep Your Nostalgia in Check – That tendency to glorify the past, to rhapsodize over what used to be, is nothing new. That’s not to say the past is useless to us. The truth is, the good old days weren’t always so good. We tend to gloss over things that don’t conform to our rosy hindsight. In the process, we lose sight of many areas in which our society has improved. We can learn from the past only if we can recall it clearly and objectively.
14: Don’t Look for Deep Fulfillment in Shallow Things – Solomon learned that all the pleasures, possessions and accomplishments in the world cannot bring fulfillment. Solomon experimented with nearly everything and he found meaning in none of it. Fulfilment can be found in healthy relationships, a well-earned, good reputation and spiritual peace. (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11)
13: Keep Your Books Balanced – This isn’t just about financial bookkeeping. It’s about living with integrity. It’s about enjoying healthy relationships and maintaining balance in our lives.
“Pay all that you owe, whether it is taxes and fees or respect and honor. Let love be your only debt! If you love others, you have done all that the Law demands.” (Romans 13:7-8)
(to be continued)
Serving God Together,