I have often heard different people say they don’t feel close to God, God seems distant, or God doesn’t speak to them. If any follower of Christ is honest, there have been times we have not felt as close to God’s presence as we would like to be. It is especially in those times where we purposefully push ourselves closer to God, seeking to devote daily to the things that draw us closer to Him.
When the Apostle Paul was formerly known as Saul, he was an up and coming mind, respected for his education and training. As he says in Philippians 3: “a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.“ He was a zealous persecutor of the followers of Jesus.
And then he was transformed by his encounter with Jesus (see Acts 9).
Later, Paul writes about transformation in Romans 12. “2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your minds.”
How do we transform?
Paul says by the renewing of our minds. That comes when we pursue God through daily prayer, Bible study, reading spiritual books, prayer journaling, memorizing biblical text, joining together in corporate worship, serving others in the name of Christ and the list can go on. But it takes discipline and effort. I have been told that if we do something for 30 straight days, it will become a habit. The renewal comes when we make a habit of pursuing God.
If you see me at church or want to post a comment, feel free to ask me what I am studying in the Bible, what text have I been memorizing or what spiritual book I am reading.
There is a treasure trove of resources, here are some that I use:
No matter what combination of tools we use, transformation and renewal come when we are intentional about our pursuit of God. Athletes who compete in any sport have to practice the fundamentals. They have to condition their bodies to be able to play and endure the physicality of the game. Our spiritual lives are not different.