I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12.1-2
We are told in these most profound Scriptures to ābe not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.ā. Simply put, we are to act, speak and live differently than others in this life and in oder to do so we must begin to think differently. Christianity is not a mental game played through the strategy of manās interoperation, but rather it is a lifestyle built around a formula written in the perfectly preserved Holy Word of God. Therefore, as a Christian, we are to renew our mind through the word of God and the equation the Lord has given us through His word. What is that equation? Time + Energy + Substance = a renewed mind. Now, before you think this is silly, just think about it in these terms, the Time equals the amount of time spent in word of God which includes oneās faithfulness in church, reading their Bible, personal private prayers, witnessing etc. The Energy equates to the amount of effort one puts into the time and the Substance is quality of teaching absorbed within the Time and Energy. In our world, we have a tool to measure just about anything. Data collection systems today have the ability to measure torque on a screw assembling a car to the most minute* degrees and do it from across the plant. We have statistics for measuring and evaluating purposes readily available for just about anything. If we want to know about the best schools, neighbourhoods, restaurants or vehicles the numbers are there. If we want to know the best college degree to obtain in order to secure a job within the next four years, the statistics and forecast are there. But what about our life? The Bible instructs us, āBut grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amenā (II Peter 3:18). What markers or evaluating formulas are we placing in our personal lives to measure how or what we are doing to āgrow in graceā? Beloved, I am a firm believer if someone can control a manās time, he can control a manās heart. Therefore, how are we measuring our personal time to grow in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ? Think about it like this, there are fifty three available Sundays in 2017 with only forty-four left at the time of this writing as well as fifty two Wednesdays and only forty-four remaining. This gives us eighty-eight Sunday worship service opportunities (in your local church which is right) and forty-four mid-week Bible study opportunities (We also have a morning midweek Bible study, but understandably conflicts with most work schedules). So, now letās allow the numbers to do the talking, in a given year there are 365 days each day made up of 24 hours. This equates to 1,440 minutes or 86,000 seconds per day. Now before you think this is a large amount of time, 1/3 or 25,920 seconds equalling 432 minutes or 7.2 hours is spent sleepingā¦ each day. This leaves us 60,480 seconds or 1008 minutes or 16.8 hours per day awake. Within the remaining time, according to the latest research the average work day is 8.4 hours, which is as we follow suit, 504 minutes or 30,240 seconds. Still you may think, there is plenty of time in the week to grow closer to the Lord in worship, praise and prayerā¦ Well, not so fast, in a given day the average adult spends 29,920 seconds sleeping and 30,240 seconds working out of their 86,400 seconds leaving 26, 240 seconds or 437 minutes or 7.2 hours to āgrow in graceā. Unfortunately, we cannot stop there in letting the numbers have their way. On average, we spend 6,480 seconds (108 minutes or 1.8 hours) consuming food each day. On top of this, in Britain we spend 670 seconds (11.1 minutes) a day queuing, which equals 5 hours and 35 minutes a month. At the same time. The average commute to and from work is 5,880 seconds which is 98 min or 1.6 hours and if this isn't enough, we spend 6792 seconds (113.2 minutes or 1.8 hours) every day in the bathroom. Adding it all together we now find after work and sleep we spend an additional 19,822 seconds (322 minutes or 5.5 hours) a day leaving only 6,418 seconds or 106 minutes or 1.7 hours available each day to āgrow in graceā. None of these numbers take into account the average time spent each day on social media is 6000 seconds (100 minutes or 1 hours 40 minutes) and the average Briton is said to spend 24 hours a week watching TV, which will consume over a decade in a given life. Recently, studies have revealed one in fourteen people spend in excess of 40 hours a week glued to the television set. What does all this mean? It means on average we have 1.7 hours a day (not including time lost in social media/TV and there things such as phone calls, pumping fuel, paying bills and answering emails, of which one study revealed the average U.S. worker spends 6.3 hours a day answering emails.) to learn more about the Lord and grow in the grace He has afforded. We are granted a small amount of time each week to obey the Lord in assembling ourselves together (Hebrews 10.25), roughly 180 minutes per week which equates to 10,800 seconds per weekā¦ not much time when looked at in the grand scheme of things is it? When one opportunity is lost, it is gone, how can we expect the local body to thrive in growing in grace if we only are squeezing in the Lord, assembling, prayer and worship? The answer is we cannotā¦ this is why we are plagued with church doors closing in the manner they have over the past 30-40 years. My Dad used to set me down and tell me how many days I had to prepare for the next football season. He would tell me for everyday I miss, my opponent was working hard. The victor will be determined by who works hardest refusing to miss days given to train. The same is true in our lives, we can set up measuring tools in our lives to determine how we are working toward growing in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Work it out for yourselves, set a spreadsheet out and list how faithful you are in the house of God, reading the Bible, praying (private times and with family), witnessing, helping those in need etc. It may sound unconventional and it should be because the methods we are employing today are not working. It was the Psalmist who wrote of wisdom, āSo teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.ā (Psalm 90:12) We are not to do this to compare ourselves among ourselves, but rather to evaluate our OWN lives as how we are taking advantage of the times of opportunities given by the Lord, lest we take them for granted and lose them all together. This, beloved friends, is having a renewed mind. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.