6 Ways to Help Renew Your Mind & Prevent Drift in Ministry
By Greg Mathias
Over the years, I have seen in my own life and in the lives of others, the following unfortunate mantra:
“I am so busy with ministry to others that I have little time for my own personal walk with Jesus.”
When ministry replaces a deep and abiding walk with Jesus you are entering into the minefield of performance, burnout, and drift. At this point, your ministry ceases to be kingdom-building and becomes more of a glorified spiritual fan club for all things Jesus.
Drift in ministry is real, but time in the Word and prayer can anchor your soul even in the busiest of ministry seasons. The Bible warns and commands us of the need to constantly renew our minds and guard against drift,
“…to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24
“Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” Hebrews 2:1-4
Here are 6 ways to pay closer attention to the Word and fight against drift:
You don’t fall into reading the Word, it takes work. Reading the Bible exposes you to the grandeur and goodness of God. George Guthrie says it well,
As we read on a daily basis, growing in our skill in Bible reading, the rhythm of a life lived deeply in God’s Word will become as nurturing as our daily meals, as spiritually strengthening as daily exercise, and as emotionally satisfying as a good-morning kiss from a spouse. It takes discipline, but Bible reading can come to be a discipline of delight if we open our hearts and lives to it (15).
– Read the Bible For Life: Your Guide to Understanding & Living God’s Word
Make it your daily routine to read the Word. If you need a change of pace, make use of listening to the Bible via an app. I do this often when I am running or getting ready in the morning. It’s a great way to bolster my reading habits.
Saturate yourself with the Word. Don’t settle for skimming over the surface but commit to delve the depths of God’s Word through study. Spend time studying a book, a theme, or find that area in your life that you want to grow in or a sin you need to slay and study everything the Bible says about that particular topic.
Consider the Word for more than 15 or 30 minutes a day. It’s been said that three things are eternal: God, His Word, and the souls of men. Think about the Word, come back to it, keep it before you as often as possible throughout your day. Invest in eternal things.
I find that this is a dying discipline for many. Whether it is due to the disease of busyness or the ease of the click and search Bible or something else, many do not take the time to consistently commit the Word to memory. Cultivate the ability to call the Word specifically to mind — key verses, whole chapters, and even books. It takes work, but knowing the Word allows the Spirit to minister to you and others no matter where you are or what you are facing.
The Word informs and inspires our prayers. The psalms are a wonderful help in this arena. Use them as your words to pray back to God. The psalms are honest, raw, and lofty. They speak to the emotional spectrum, and, at least for me, are often the seeds for extended prayer when I just don’t feel like it or know what to say.
6. Apply & Obey.
Think of your own life and family first and not your next ministry appointment, small group, teaching time, or assignment. The Spirit wants to use the Word in YOUR life to grow you, mature you, and help you to pursue God with more expectation and passion. As He transforms you, He will use you in the lives of others.
What are other ways you have found to pay closer attention to the Word?