The Bible contains universal applications for everyone, not only Christians. I try to read it every day, not out of obligation, but because I have witnessed the transformation of my own heart over the years.
Growing up my family didn’t have a lot or at least not as much as my friends seemed to have. I am an inherently stingy person, and in fifth grade I made my best friend pay me back a nickel (for real). However, today I’ve grown out of that mindset, and giving is currently one of my primary financial goals. I know myself and recognize that who I am today with Christ is not the same person that I was before.
Becoming acquainted with someone and allowing them to influence behavior takes time. Most people don’t step into our lives and make an instant difference. Becoming familiar with God takes effort in the way that all relationships do.
To know someone takes time.
Bonding with God can seem like a one-way street because you can’t sit down with Him over coffee. It’s impossible to know someone without learning who they are and having exchanges with them, and the Bible is a part of our conversation with God. Realizing who God is, how He loves me, and the way He sees me reshaped the manner in which I see myself. It altered the way that I view the world. It changed everything.
Despite my long-standing conversation with God through His Word, He still amazes me by revealing new perspectives within a Bible passage that I have likely read over a dozen times. Recently I read the Book of Romans, and I stumbled on a passage that stopped me in my tracks.
I found a recipe for life.
Within this simple paragraph, I find the path to fulfillment, good relationships, and a healthy conscience. I started to memorize these words so that I always have them at my fingertips when I start to react and unravel. I find myself checking in mentally to make sure that my behavior aligns with the precepts described in the passage.
Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. 10 Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. 13 Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality.14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. 16 Be in agreement with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Try to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. 18 If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:9-18 HCSB)
What a wonderful way to live.