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Find Us Faithful - How My Life Was Changed By Four Simple Questions

How My Life Was Changed By Four Simple Questions

I was in college. I had been a Christian for about four years. And I was repeatedly hearing the challenge to read my bible more. But every time I tried, I always ended up feeling discouraged. There were occasions when I got into the habit for a few days, or even a few weeks, but it never lasted long. I was expecting to see dramatic changes in my life and my relationship with God, but it always ended up the same - feelings of guilt, frustration and sometimes...boredom.
I wouldn't be shocked if you have experienced some of the same feelings. You know you "should" read your bible more regularly, but every time you do, it doesn't seem to deliver what was promised.
But one day all this changed. For the first time, the bible felt truly alive in my hands.
It was the week before the start of my final year at college, and I was on campus with our Christian club doing some outreach to the newly arriving international students. That morning, I had read from Romans 1 where the apostle Paul is greeting the church in Rome at the start of his letter. The thing that stuck out to me was the fact that Paul was encouraging these believers for their strengths in their faith, even though he had never met them personally before.
So based on some questions I had been encouraged to use, I decided to try and do likewise. I prayed that God would show me where I could encourage someone in their gifts today, and went on with my day.
As we were connecting with the international students, I noticed that one of the girls on our team was brilliant at welcoming the students into the marquee we had set up. She had a huge smile on her face whenever she greeted someone and was willing to talk with them, even though their English was sometimes very broken.
So without thinking about it, I went up to her and just told her she was doing a great job and that she was being so warm and welcoming. As I walked away, I was reminded about what I had asked God for after reading Romans 1, and that God had answered my prayer. I was overjoyed. I distinctly remember thinking, "The bible changed the way I lived my life today."

So what changed?

I had been reading the bible all wrong. I guess I was expecting that just because I read some words off the page, that some magical transformation was bound to happen. But it never did.
I needed to be engaging with the passage and seeking my mind to be renewed.
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2
The aim of reading our bibles is so that our thinking can be changed. This verse teaches us that we are either conforming to the way of life of this world, or we're being transformed to live more like Jesus. There is no neutral gear, there is no coasting. We're either doing one or the other.
And the way we experience this transformation is by the renewing of our minds. This is one of the main jobs of the bible.
There are four questions that you can use to engage with any passage of the bible to help with the process of renewing your mind. Not every passage will answer all four questions, but at least one of them will be answered.

The Four Questions

1. Who is God?

After you've read a passage of the bible, ask yourself what does this teach me about:
  • who God is?
  • what His character is like?
  • what God likes and rejoices in?
  • what God hates?
It's not just enough to answer these questions factually, we need to respond to the answers we find. So for each of these four questions, there is a possible prayer with which you could respond to God.
So if you find something in your passage about who God is, you can respond with praise.
God I praise you because...

2. Who is man?

After you've read a passage of the bible, ask yourself what does this teach me about:
  • what is mankind like?
  • what good qualities are evidence of our good Creator?
  • what bad qualities are evidence of the fallen world we live in and our sin?
To respond, you might want to confess a sinful attitude or behavior in your life that the passage brought to light. Or you might want to thank God for some way in which He made you.
God I confess...
Thank you God for making me...

3. What has God done?

After you've read a passage of the bible, ask yourself what does this teach me about:
  • what God has done for me?
  • what God has done for mankind in general?
  • what God has done to save me in Christ?
  • what God has done to show me who He is?
To respond, you can thank God for what He has done for us. Even if the action described is an act of judgment or a prophecy of destruction (which can sometimes be hard for us to swallow), we can thank God that this shows us His holiness and His hatred of sin.
Thank you God for...

4. What must man do?

After you've read a passage of the bible, ask yourself what does this teach me about:
  • how God wants me to live differently?
  • how God wants me to relate to Him?
  • how God wants me to treat other people?
  • what attitudes God wants me to have?
To respond to this, you need to ask God for help to do whatever it is He is calling you to do.
God, please help me to...

Final Tips

You might not get the excitement that I got that morning at college, but if you commit to doing this on a regular basis, you will see your life being different.
Remember the aim of reading your bible is to renew your thinking so that you can live the transformed life which is a light to the world. So don't just answer these questions in your head. Write your answers down on a notepad or an app on your phone or tablet. This way you can come back to them to remind yourself and to see how you're growing. Also, share your responses with others. You can text them to an accountability partner or share them over coffee or in your small group.

Now it's your turn

I don't just want you to read this post, think it's interesting, and then move on. I want you to start reading your bible daily with the aim of renewing your mind. So why don't you give it a go now?
Grab your bible, or open up your bible app, turn to a random passage in the New Testament and try and answer those four questions, and write down your responses. I'd love to see any responses you want to share in the comments below.
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