Three disciplines have done wonders in my life—and they will do wonders for you too.

Before you even read these, you may be thinking, “I have no time to introduce anything new into my life.” Yes, you do. We always find time for what’s important to us. And frankly, we spent too much time trolling through social media, cruising Pinterest, and binge watching the stupid TV.

We feed our brains a lot of junk food and our spirits are left to starve or get by on one meal a week when we go to church. It’s time to stop, and it begins with these three disciplines.

1. Read. You’d expect someone who crafts Bible studies for a living to tell you to read—and you’d also expect him to tell you to read the Bible. And you should read the Bible—but don’t stop there.

Read daily. It’s a simple thing to do and it doesn’t take long. Let God’s Word feed your soul and spirit first thing in the morning.

  • “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” (Josh. 1:8).
  • All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Read other books. Enrich your mind. Read books on the Christian life; read what others have learned about living for and following Christ. Branch out in other areas too. Read different genres of books: novels, biographies, history, the classics, you name it. Broaden your horizons.

2. Write. Thankfully, journaling is catching on, and a variety of journaling books and Bibles are available. I don’t care how you do it, just write!

The process of putting words on paper has been a great way to get a handle on my own thinking. I can see what I’m thinking! Journaling allows me to be open and honest with myself. And it truly draws me close to Christ.

I keep a plain journal on my iPad, and after reading Augustine’s Confessions, I began writing my thoughts to God. It’s not so much a prayer, but I am just telling God what’s on my mind. Sometimes I write about what I just read in the Bible. Sometimes it has to do with an event on the previous day. And other times I’m writing and thinking through a decision or something I’m going to encounter that day.

3. Pray. I’m convinced prayer is both the easiest thing to do and the hardest thing to do. We can go before God at any time, and yet we don’t. It truly takes discipline to center our thoughts and talk to God. But God works through our prayers, and He works in us as we pray.

  • Call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.” (Ps. 17:6).
  • “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jer. 33:3).

Make time in your day for these disciplines, and it will be transformative. These three actions will get you centered on Christ and help keep you there. Aim for a renewed mind in 2018.

“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” (Rom. 12:2).