The first step to reforming the church is personal Reformation.
"Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?"
The roots of the Reformation are found in Martin Luther’s quest for peace with God, hunger and thirst for righteousness. Seeking first the Kingdom of God, his integrity as a professor of the University, duty as a doctor of the Scriptures to study, teach and defend the Holy Scriptures, working through Psalms, Galatians and Romans. This gave him the conviction and courage to challenge the entire religious, political and social order.
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him…”
2 Chronicles 16:9
1. Schedule time with God in your diary.
If you fail to plan then you plan to fail. If something (or someone) is important then you need to schedule time in your diary. Just as you would not miss an appointment with anyone else, be sure to honour your appointment with God. First things first. Live in the light of eternity. Seek first the Kingdom of God. Seek His face. Fear God alone.
"What does the Lord your God ask of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul."
2. Switch off your cell phone in Church, during your devotions, and in prayer meetings.
No one is more important than God and nothing is more important than our relationship with Him. Technology is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. Remove distractions. Focus and concentrate on what really matters, in the light of eternity.
"These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 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."
3. Build the Bible into your daily routine.
Until something is a daily habit it does not really control our lives. We are creatures of habit. Make sure you have good habits.
"Oh, how I love Your Law! I meditate on it all day long."
4. Make it a principle that the Bible comes before breakfast.
Start your day with wisdom - read a chapter of Proverbs every morning. There are 31 chapters of Proverbs, so that would work out to one for every day of the month. Proverbs are an inexhaustible treasury of wisdom, insights and solutions for our daily problems and challenges. Forewarned is forearmed. Be mentally and spiritually prepared for the challenges of each day.
"Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with gratitude in your hearts to God."
5. Read a Psalm before every lunch.
The Psalms are the prayer book of the Bible. If you want to revitalise your prayer life, start praying through the Psalms. There are 150 Psalms, so you can go through the whole book of Psalms every 5 months. Martin Luther’s plan for reviving your prayer life is: Pray the Psalms in worship.
"Man does not live on bread alone but on every Word that comes from the mouth of the Lord."
6. Scripture before or after supper.
We tend to be regular about meal times, so to ensure a balanced diet - feeding our minds and souls as well as our bodies - we should incorporate Bible reading into our meal times. Otherwise it could be missed. It is our daily bread. Boeke Vat – Scripture readings after supper – a lovely Afrikaans tradition. Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening and Andrew Murray devotionals are highly recommended.
"All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
2 Timothy 3:16
7. Read through the whole Bible in one year.
If you read 4 chapters a day, then you will be able to complete the whole Bible in just one year. Many claim to believe what is in the Bible, but most do not know what is in the Bible!
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."
8. Tithe your day.
Devote two and a half hours of every day to spiritual exercises - reading your Bible, Christian books and magazines and to prayer, worship and outreach. We need balance. Invest your Time, Talents and Treasure in what will last for eternity.
"Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind."
1 Peter 2:1
9. Do a thorough job of repentance and restitution.
Do everything you can to restore relationships with estranged brethren. Forgive those who have sinned against you. Make a list. Confession is part of Protestant Church life, as seen in the Stadtkirche art in Wittenberg.
"Do not conform any longer 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."
10. Invest in renewing your mind.
Buy, or borrow, Christian biographies, missionary books, devotionals and doctrinal books. A reading Christian is a growing Christian. Readers make leaders. If you want to lead, read. Libraries are gyms for the mind.
"...Devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture..."
1 Timothy 4:13
11. Attend the Bible Study and prayer meetings of your Church.
Join, or start, a Bible Study and prayer meeting at your workplace, or school, or neighbourhood as Dr. Paul Negrut of Romania said: “A real Christian loves God, a real Christian loves prayer, a real Christian loves the Bible and a real Christian hates sin. We do not count our members by who attends Sunday services but by who attends the midweek Bible Study and Prayer meeting.”
"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord."
12. Volunteer some of your time to help your local church, or a local mission.
Use it or lose it. True love is measured by sacrifice. Put feet to your Faith.
"If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath... if you call the Sabbath a delight... if you honour it... Then you will find your joy in the Lord..."
13. Make Sundays special.
Honour the Lord's Day by avoiding normal work activities, including shopping, on the Lord's Day. Ensure that Sundays in your home are truly a day of rest, a day of worship and a day for the family - free from commercial activities and worldly distractions. Eric Liddell (of Chariots of Fire fame) who won gold in the 1924 Olympics, refused to run on Sundays.
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be My witnesses..."
14. Receive Evangelistic training such as Evangelism Explosion, Way of the Master and the Great Commission Course and begin the weekly habit of lifestyle Evangelism, sharing your Faith with those you come into contact with, naturally and effectively.
"Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbour's life. I am the Lord."
15. Expect opposition and criticism.
Resolve to neither listen to gossip, nor to spread it. If you are not being criticized, then you are not doing your job. “The only way to avoid criticism is to say nothing, do nothing, be nothing!”
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our Faith."
16. Keep focussed on Jesus the Author and Perfector of our Faith.
"Be very careful, then, how you live not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil."
17. For those who say that they do not have the time for these Practical Steps to Personal Reformation, I can add another suggestion: Disconnect your TV and stop reading the daily newspapers. That will provide most people with a couple of extra hours every day! Eradicate time wasters. Remove distractions. Focus your attention and energies on what really matters - for all eternity!
"Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…"
Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.
Seek first the Kingdom of God!
Fear God alone!
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