Connecting With God
I wrote previously about rebuilding the “house” of my spiritual life. It’s my hope this example will inspire you to lay your own foundation, whether with these verses or others.
The foundation is the least visible part of a house, but it’s also the most important. I pray these verses by heart at the start every week. (Note: the words in italics are based on studies in the original Greek and Hebrew.)
Romans 12:2 – “Do not be conformed to (“shaped by”) this world (or age), but (instead) be transformed (literally “metamorphosed” like a caterpillar) by the regenerating of your mind, so that you may be able to discern* what is the will of God: what is good, well-pleasing, and perfect.**
Prayer is not about aligning God to my will. It’s about aligning mine to His!
Matthew 7:24-25 – Having chosen to center my life on God’s will, I look to Jesus for the “how to”: “Anyone who hears these words of mine and is doing them is like the wise man who built his house on a rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the wind blew and beat against that house, but it stands (Jesus shifts to present tense—the house is still standing!) because it is founded upon rock.”
Bottom line: “Build your life on his Word!”
John 8:31-32 – I now focus on motivation: “When you remain*** in my word, then you are truly my disciples. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set* you free.”
How could anyone not be excited by a promise like that?
Psalm 119:10-13 – Next, I personalize my intention, using the words of King David: “With my whole heart I seek you! (And to that end) I have hidden (or “treasured”) your word in my heart so that I might not sin against you (David realized that all sins are sins against God because anything that is not in accordance with His will damages something or someone He created). And with my lips I will proclaim all of the ordinances of your mouth.”
I will live by and teach all the truths I have learned.
Matthew 26:41 – Here I add Jesus’ warning and promise, “Watch (“stay awake!”) and pray, so that you will not fall into temptation (there is certainty in these words—if you watch and pray, you will not fall!). The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Greek = “infirm,” not weak by design, but sick, broken).
I’m sincere, but I’m also fallen and must constantly nip temptation in the bud!
John 15:10-11 – “When you obey me, you remain*** in my love, just as I obey the Father and remain in His love. (This does not mean, “I only love you when you obey me,” it means, “Obeying me keeps you out of harm’s way and allows you to ‘stay’ in my love.”) “I’m telling you this, so my joy will remain (stay) in you. Yes, your joy will be complete!”**
What a promise!
Hebrews 12:1-2 – I always conclude with these words of encouragement: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses (we are not alone!), let us also (just as others have) lay aside every burden (the fears and failings that pull us off course) and the sin that clings so closely (addictive behaviors that seems impossible to overcome), and let us run with perseverance the race set before us (keep getting back in the race!). (How? (By) looking to Jesus, the founder and finisher** of our faith.”
He put us in this race and he will enable us to finish it!”
To be continued…
⇔ ⇔ ⇔
*The aorist verb tense (Greek “no limit”) = an ongoing activity, sometimes translated “keep on doing.”
**Teleos (Greek) appears repeatedly in the New Testament. It may be translated whole, complete, mature, perfect. It’s an essential God-quality that we are called to grow into, meaning, in essence, “no longer broken.”
***Meno (Greek) can be translated remain, live or rest, but may most accurately be rendered “abide.” It means to make something your “home.”