As believers in Jesus we are not called to work for God but to rest in Him. We are not called to do anything for Him but rather believe in Him.
So many of our disciplines revolve around our actions, doing things to get closer to God or please Him.
The truth is that we are already in union with God, as close as we’ll ever get and we are already fully pleasing to Him.
However, this doesn’t mean that we experience these realities all the time.
The church often recommends doing certain disciplines to try draw us closer to God or make us “more holy”. They might say, pray harder, read more of your bible, go to church, tithe etc. and you will be closer to God. Of course this is wrong but it doesn’t mean that all disciplines in our lives are negative and that we should avoid them.
It’s obvious that praying and reading your bible etc. aren’t bad things. The issue is the motivation behind them. If we are doing them to get closer to God then we have missed the entire point.
Renewing your mind should be the motivation behind every discipline in your life. Transformation occurs through the renewal of the mind and this is the key to experiencing all that God has given us.
Every area of our lives will experience the powerful reality of the cross when we start to see God, ourselves, others and our circumstances as God sees them.
So with that said I want to share with you 4 simple disciplines. These are disciplines which I have established in my life which have caused me to focus on my beliefs rather than my conduct.
This in turn has radically altered my life and my relationship with God.
1) Exaggerate the goodness of God
There’s no beating around the bush on this. We simply don’t believe that God is as good as He says He is.
If we did we wouldn’t worry half as much as we do.
Bill Johnson often says:
“It’s impossible to exaggerate the goodness of God”
It’s offensive for us to think about exaggerating something – we have to be realistic and truthful! But the truth is that any limit we put on the goodness of God is not true, nor realistic. It’s a lie that we have decided to embrace based on our rational and experience.
So I encourage you – try to exaggerate the goodness of God. It will give you a much more accurate picture of how good He is and your beliefs will grow accordingly!
2) Ask God to show you how He sees people around you
I love the revelation that Paul has in 2 Cor 5. He states that “if Christ died for all, then all have died”. He then goes on to say “therefore, I can no longer consider any man according to the flesh!”
We are not called to judge those around us according to their actions. Rather God has called us to seeing people according to who God created them to be. We were made to call out people’s identity and help them understand who they are in God’s image!
You will never meet someone who isn’t made in the image and likeness of God. [Tweet This]
Whether they are a believer, an atheist, a Buddhist or Muslim – they are God’s son or daughter, made in His image and He loves them with all His heart.
While they were sinners Christ died for them too!
We need to start asking God, “Help me to see your children the way you do”.
I had a radical experience of this while travelling in Germany a few years ago. I was on a train praying about this very thing and I started to see all the people around me as God saw them.
I saw their desperate need to love and to be loved, their hopes, their dreams and their passions – it was beautiful!
I think I spent about 2 and a half hours crying, overwhelmed with love for these people. (And also looking like a crazy person!)
I experience this now quite often, as I ask God to reveal how He sees the people around me. This has changed the way I love others more than anything I’ve ever experienced.
I’m not saying I’m perfect, I can still be unloving and judgmental at the best of times! But I’m sure you can see that asking God to give you His perspective rather than living based upon your perspective is a great idea!
3) Be aware of your fruit but treat the root
Often when people grasp the good news of the gospel they fall prey to thinking their lifestyle doesn’t matter.
In one sense they are right. Does our lifestyle determine if God love us, or if there is grace for us? Of course not! But our lifestyle is important. It might not hinder God from loving us, but it does hinder us.
Our lifestyle can have a massive effect on us. It can impact our relationships and our circumstances. In fact, it can even affect the degree which we open up and experience God’s unconditional love for us.
For this reason I think it’s healthy to have a posture of always evaluating the fruit of our lives. It’s important to look at our lives and see if we are bearing good or bad fruit.
Yes there is grace for it, yes it doesn’t hinder God from loving us but that doesn’t mean we should want to keep having bad fruit in our lives!
The Bible states that the fruit of our lives come from one of two sources. Either the Spirit of God (the fruit of the Spirit) or our own works of the flesh (us trying to do things without the Spirit.)
Jesus said that as we rest in Him we will bear good fruit.
When we look at our lives and see the fruit that is hanging we can immediately tell where we stand. Either we are resting in Christ and allowing the Spirit to work through us – or we are in works and trying to do things in our own strength.
Constantly evaluating our fruit allows us to start dealing with the root – the beliefs.
Either we believe in God and rest or we believe in ourselves and strive. [Tweet This]
4) Expect God to turn everything in your life around for good
I don’t know about you, but I’m an expert at letting my circumstances get the best of me every now and again.
Whether it’s our health, our finances, our relationships or one of the million other things we are juggling in our lives, we all have stuff going on.
The simple fact of life is that not everything is going to go perfectly all the time. This isn’t just our experience speaking – the Bible tells us this will be the case.
However, the issue we have is not that we have problems.
The issue is that we do not have faith in the solution to those problems.
The Bible clearly promises that God will turn all things around for good. Yet, in the midst of our issues it is all too easy for our problems to become bigger than our God.
We must establish in our lives the belief that God is turning everything around for good.
And while we’re on the topic, let me encourage you, “all things” means all things.
I don’t care what you’re going through today, God is able to turn it all around for good.
We must make it a habit of asking ourselves “do I believe that God can turn this around for good?”
Because when the answer is “no”, we need to renew our minds.
What has been a key spiritual discipline in your life?
So let me ask you – what has been something you have established in your life that has helped you renew your mind? Leave a comment below.