‘It matters’ means that you give something importance and priority.
What you think about matters
Will you live intentionally for God this next year or will you settle for mediocrity?
Real change starts with our thinking. What we think about really matters!
Romans 8:6-8 (NIV) The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
Proverbs 4:23 (NLT) Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
What we think about determines many of our actions. We live out what we think.
Thoughts > emotions > behavior > consequences
Romans 12:2 (NIV) Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Renewing: completing a process, make new, change of heart
Philippians 4:8 (ESV) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
True: Before you believe something and put it into your mind, ask – is this objectively true?
Honorable: Does this honor God and what He wants for me to digest?
Just: Does this represent the righteousness of Christ? Is it right or wrong?
Pure: Is what I am thinking holy?
Lovely: Do my thoughts engender love and grace?
Commendable: Are my thoughts fit for God to hear?
Excellent: Does this motivate me to godly behavior?
What you read matters
- Read your Bible
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (NIV) These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Meditate on God’s word, share it with others, talk about it often, be reminded of it and write it down.
Joshua 1:8 (NIV) Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
His Word is primary to how He reveals Himself to us.
If we are to be disciple-making Christians, we will teach, exhort and encourage with God’s word.
2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV) Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
It matters that we know the word of God.
- Read good books that stimulate you to think about God, challenge your perspective and lead you back to His word to want more.
Here are some great classics I have read that have truly impacted my life for the good.
The Knowledge of the Holy – A.W.Tozer
Knowing God – J.I. Packer
True Spirituality – Francis Schaeffer
Spiritual Disciplines – Donald S. Whitney
Reason for God – Timothy Keller
The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment – Jeremiah Burroughs
The Discipline of Grace – Jerry Bridges,
Sermon on the Mount – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Sermon on the Mount – John Stott
The Parables of Jesus – David Wenham
The Master Plan of Evangelism – Dr. Robert E. Coleman
Power through Prayer – E.M. Bounds
What you pray matters
- Pray for God to break your heart for the hurting and lost
2 Cor 4:16-18 (NIV) Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
- Pray for God’s will and not your own
Matthew 6:9-15 (NIV) “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
- Pray for unity in your relationships
John 17:20-21 (NIV) “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,
21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
For Small Group Discussion:
It matters what you think about, what you read and what you pray to God and your spiritual maturity.
Where do you need to be careful with your thought life? The news, social media or other material you may read or listen to?
How can you adjust schedules and activities to make more time for reading? Will you consider reading a challenging Christian book to stimulate your relationship with God?
What stands in the way of you having a more intentional, consistent prayer time?