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My Three Most Helpful Verses for Coping With Trials: Part 3

Posted on: September 06, 2016

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IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO KNOW HELPFUL VERSES; WE MUST MENTALLY REHEARSE THEM OFTEN ENOUGH FOR THEM TO TRANSFORM US.

This week’s blog is the third and final post in the series on My Three Most Helpful Verses for Coping With Trials.

In the first week, I made the point that the road to transformation always goes through the tunnel of trials. One potential benefit of trials is temporal, that they will transform our character giving us us increased capacity to cope and in doing so, increase our joy and satisfaction in life.

That comes from James 1:2-4, which says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing.”

Last week, I made the point that you can’t take it with you, but you can send it ahead. A second potential benefit of trials is eternal. As we respond to the Lord in faithful obedience to His will, God rewards us for our faith, and we send eternal treasures ahead, to be waiting for us in heaven when we get there.

That comes from Romans 8:18, which says “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

However, as noted in a previous blogit is not enough just to know those verses; we must mentally rehearse them often enough for them to transform us.

Every moment of every day, something in our soul is being fed and something is being starved. And in the living of everyday life, the things of the world are inevitably fed into our souls, and the things of the Spirit are starved. Therefore, we must power-feed our souls the things of the Spirit sufficient to offset the things of the world.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says, Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look, not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

As we unpack this passage we see that the way Paul was able to “not lose heart” was to focus on “the things that are not seen,” rather than focusing on the “things that are seen.” That is, he cultivated an eternal perspective, focusing on eternal realities instead of temporal problems.

One way we help do that is to take those verses through our brains over and over, day after day, until the repetition begins to rewire the brain and bring about change at the subconscious level, which is where our true attitudes, values and behavior originate.

We may know that certain Scripture passages exist and what they teach, but that is not enough. We may actually have the passages memorized, but that is not enough, either. It is only enough when we mentally rehearse the passages over and over again, often enough that it creates new pathways and connections in the brain, altering our perception of reality, giving us an eternal perspective at the subconscious level.

Initially, this usually takes mentally reviewing the passages several times a day for at least a month. That is how long it takes for the brain to rewire itself. Anything less than that is like discontinuing antibiotics before an infection is eradicated. If we do, the infection just comes back.

If we fail to mentally rehearse Scripture sufficiently, the temporal worldview just comes back, keeping us as mired in a temporal perspective as if we didn’t even know the Scripture.

And then, after we have initially mastered a passage, we must continue to review it as time goes on… once a day is usually sufficient… because we did not put that memory in a bank vault; we put it in a bucket with a hole in it. The memory and awareness will eventually fade if not reinforced on an ongoing basis.

This daily review doesn’t need to take long. And once you have the passages deeply memorized, you can often review them in seconds, taking them through your brain like an auctioneer.

But, it isn’t necessary to actually have the verses memorized to begin with. You can read them three or four times a day for a month or so. The thing is… and this is a good thing… if you rehearse the Scripture passages that often for that long, most people will have them memorized at the end of that time.

If not, then just a little work will usually finish the job. Then, once they’re memorized, you can rehearse the verses without having to read them. When you are driving, when you are shaving in the morning, when you wake up in the middle of the night, you can take the verses through your mind, driving them deeper and deeper into your heart.

As we cultivate an on-going eternal perspective (looking at the things which are not seen), it helps keep us from being overwhelmed by negative circumstances (the things which are seen), since God’s eternal purposes for our lives are not thwarted by temporal circumstances.

Properly perceived, negative circumstances are just pieces of spiritual exercise equipment that God uses to develop greater spiritual strength and capacity, which He will use to increase our joy and our impact in the world.

But it takes an eternal perspective to view them that way, and that perspective is only achieved, as Psalm 1:1-3 says, by “meditating, day and night…” or in other words, repetition, repetition, repetition!

As you master these three helpful passages so well that the passages master you, you will find the temporal and eternal benefits of trials becoming more and more important and valuable to you, giving you grace and strength, transforming your capacity to better cope with the trials of life.

UPDATE: To help in the process of renewing your mind, I’ve added this free downloadable pdf with the visual prompts I use for reviewing My Three Most Helpful Passages for Coping With Trials. Click Here to Download the pdf. If you’ve already subscribed to my list, you will not receive duplicate emails when requesting this resource.


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