Beyond the Series: Why Personal Devotion Is Essential to a Christian Life

Beyond the Series: Why Personal Devotion Is Essential to a Christian Life

For the past weeks, through our series, Wordview, we at Victory have been learning about the Word of God and how it shapes our worldview. In this interview, Victory chairman Bishop Manny Carlos shares how his worldview was personally shaped by the Word, and discusses how a daily habit of reading the Bible can transform lives the way that it transformed his.

Bishop Manny, what is a worldview?

“A worldview is the way you perceive and make sense of the world around you.”

A worldview is the way you perceive and make sense of the world around you. All of us grow up having a worldview. It’s a combination of what we’re taught in our families, our schools, our churches, and through our own experiences. A worldview is something that is developed over the course of one’s life and shapes one’s values. It is like a set of lenses through which you view life and reality. If you’re wearing sunglasses that have a yellow tint, everything you see will be tinted yellow. If you change the tint of your sunglasses to blue, then everything has a hue of blue. That’s what a worldview is. It’s a set of lenses that basically colors the way you see the world.

How did the Word of God shape your worldview?

The Word of God brings a counter-imagination to what is prevalent in the world. A biblical worldview enables you to see the world from God’s perspective. If we are to live a life that is pleasing and honoring to God, then we want to develop a biblical worldview, which is how God sees the world we live in.

“The Word of God does not just inform us or conform us to a standard. It has the power to transform our lives and change us into a whole new person.”

When I committed my life to Christ, I began to be exposed to the Bible. Yes, I started to go to church, but my thinking and values were not aligned to His Word in many ways. My worldview began to change as I read, meditated on, believed, and obeyed the Word. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” The Word of God does not just inform us or conform us to a standard. It has the power to transform our lives and change us into a whole new person.

I experienced this, but it didn’t happen instantaneously. God changed my heart and desires. I used to live for my own dreams and visions, and I had my life pretty much planned out for myself. I wanted to be in the corporate world and succeed there. But as I devoted myself to the Word of God, I grew in my relationship with Him. Eventually, I heard the call of God to be a minister of the gospel. He changed my desire to live for my own dreams into desiring to live for His dreams.

The Word of God also changed the way I understood His purpose for relationships, such as marriage and family. It helped me prepare not just for the call of God in my life, but also to be a husband and a father who honors God. It also made me see my family as a great blessing. I learned that we can serve God together and fulfill His purpose, because God has purposes not just for individuals but also for families. The Word also helped me to see the church as a spiritual community, and that it is the instrument that advances His kingdom on earth. All of these things came from the Word of God. It changed the whole way I view my life. Apart from God’s Word, we will not understand His plan for humanity, society, and the world.

How did you develop a devotion to God’s Word?

Somebody taught me to live a life of prayer and meditating on the Word. I’m combining both because these are the main spiritual habits that God wants us to develop. Left to ourselves, we can’t develop either. We need others to model it for us.

The classic example of this is the disciples themselves. In the Bible, Jesus was approached by His disciples, who asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 

Prayer and meditating on God’s Word are not something you automatically learn by yourself. You need someone to help you. That is why discipleship is key to developing your devotional habits. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He began by saying, “This is how you should pray.” He gave the model prayer. We learn not just by being informed, but by being mentored. When I began to walk with God, there were several people who helped me learn about prayer and reading the Word. These included my discipleship group leader, pastors, and friends. However, it is the Holy Spirit who will ultimately help us develop the habit and give us understanding of His Word, for He is our teacher who leads and guides us into all truth.

“Careful meditation leads to careful obedience, which brings success.”

I start my personal time with God by reading His Word. In my early years as a Christian, I read more than a chapter a day and used materials such as Bible reading calendars and Bible study guides like The Purple Book. When I didn’t know how to study the Bible by myself and was not yet familiar with the Word, these foundational books helped me. They helped me go through different Scriptures, and developed in me the discipline of writing Scripture down. Writing Scriptures helps you learn the habit of getting into the Word.

Over the course of time, I’ve been able to read through the Bible. I usually don’t finish the entire Bible in one year. I don’t read for the sake of reading. I read to reflect and meditate. Meditation enables the Word to take root in your soul and in your mind. Careful meditation leads to careful obedience, which brings success.

Why should we devote ourselves to God’s Word?

“The reason we engage with the Word of God is to grow in our relationship with Him.”

God wants to have a relationship with you. That’s the starting point. God already took the initiative to bring you to Him. He already made the effort to draw you near. God wants to commune with you, and desires to teach you and instruct you in His ways. A relationship with God is the motivation. He wants to communicate with us and reveal His will for our lives. This is why reading the Word is not an obligation.

In devoting yourself to the Word, you can’t read without praying. You can’t pray without reading. God’s Word propels you into communion with Him. The Word of God is more than the renewing of the mind. It helps us to be spiritually nourished and strengthened to walk in faith and obedience to His Word, enabling us to fulfill His purpose for our lives. When you commune with God through prayer, He often brings back to remembrance that which you have read in His Word. He communicates with you, and you communicate with Him. The reason we engage with the Word of God is to grow in our relationship with Him.

Bishop Manny Carlos is the chairman of Victory, a church with multiple locations in Metro Manila and over ninety churches in the provinces.

Beyond the Series is a set of interviews with Victory pastors dealing with topics related to our sermon series. For our Wordview series, we also sat down with Pastor Ariel Marquez to talk about devotion to the Word; be sure to visit our website next week to read his interview.

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