Pat wrote: "Any thoughts on how prayer and study helps to conform us? Wishing with you to be conformed." It is so true that Romans 12:1-2 clearly shows that the Word of God does the transforming" in our lives.
We are told in this passage, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Col. 3:9-10 says nearly the same thing, "...ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him".
As I was reading Psalms, chapter 1, I was impressed with how it sheds more light on the subject of renewing our minds.
The Psalmist says, "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, not standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. "But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. "And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. "The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away."
The spiritual application for us today, is that the person who delights in the Word of God, reads it for himself and lets it permeate his mind, will be like this tree that brings forth fruit for the Lord in his life, in whatever way the Lord wills.
I believe that standing in the way of sinners, and sitting in the seat of the scornful, is thinking, talking, and walking as the unsaved do. We won't act nor think as the unsaved, if we don't listen to their counsel. We permeate our minds with the Word of God, "renew our minds" with the scriptures, rather than always permeating our minds with the ungodly influences of this world. These ungodly influences can include TV, movies, radio, people and their talk, the internet, :-), etc. I am sure we all know what these things are in our lives.
We find in Proverbs, chapters 1 through 4, a plea to seek after wisdom and knowledge from God's Word. Chapter 1:3-7 instructs us, "To receive the instruction of wisdom...A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: ...The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge..."
Chapter 2:1-6 says, "My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; "So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; "Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; "If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; "Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. "For the Lord giveth wisdom:out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding."
Chapter 3:13-15 says, "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies..."
And then, chapter 4:5-7, "Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not...Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding."
We read also, in Col. 3:1-3 where it says, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."
How can we set our affection on things above, if we do not set our affection on the Word of God? To set our affection on the Word of God IS to set our affection on things above. I have to ask myself continually, "What priority does the Word have in my life? Where is my affection?" The only way to set our "affection on things above", is to "seek those things which are above".
Practically then, when we read and fill our mind with the Word of God, only then can we begin to meditate on the Word as we go about our many duties and responsibilities each day. To meditate on it is to think about what we have already read. But we have to fill our minds with it first, we have to seek those things which are above.
When we read and then meditate on the Word of God, the scriptures transform us. We begin to think, do, and say the things the Lord would have us to.
Titus 2:11-15 bears this out also. The apostle Paul tells us that "the grace of God that bringeth salvation" TEACHES us how to live. This passage says, "The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world....", "zealous of good works." Then chapter 3:14, says "And let our's also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful." Many good works are named in the first few verses of chapter 2. Women are given some very specific "good works" there.
I think, all too often, women who try to obey the scriptures in their daily walk, think they are being godly, or Christlike, merely by their "walk" for the Lord, while neglecting the personal "renewing" of their minds by the Word of God. It is sad, too, because they just don't know what they are missing. Some even believe that it is their husbands' duty to do the studying and theirs is just to be a good mother, and a submissive and supportive wife. But the scriptures show that women cannot be all that God wants them to be, without this "renewing" of the mind. We are "transformed" by this renewing of our minds, and only then can we "prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Rom. 12:2)
We are all so busy, and life has so many necessary things that women must do. Let's pray for each other, that we would seek those things which are above and renew our minds with God's Word consistently.
Your sister in Christ,