“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2-3 NIV).
I didn’t do very well at this today when I ran up against a rule I didn’t like. The man I talked to said he didn’t make the rules; he just had to obey them. It was a state regulation. “Stupid rule! Grumble, grumble. How inconvenient!” Oops. That’s definitely not “what is above” thinking. Either I had forgotten to set my mind on heavenly things, or it had drifted off. I felt disappointed because I couldn’t do what I’d planned. But why was I so irritated? Maybe in pride and self-focus I think I have the right to say how things ought to be. Then I’m upset when they don’t go that way.
Next time, I hope I can do better at setting my mind on things of heaven and at remembering that I have died, and my life is now in Christ. I want to bring every thought captive to Jesus (2 Corinthians 10:5) and reorient my thinking back to its set point—things above.
(Set point=the level or point at which a variable physiological state (as body temperature or weight) tends to stabilize.
Real faith results in obedience. For me to respond in faith to what God says in His Word means putting it into action in my life. I would choose to obey—to do what the Word says instead of just listening and nodding my head in agreement. (Romans 2:13; James 1:22)
This afternoon I got frustrated with a customer service representative who couldn’t seem to understand my question no matter how many ways I tried to phrase it. I’ve had problems like this before, and in the past (like last week) I’ve gotten quite upset.
But today, I’m looking at 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I’m in Christ Jesus. Therefore, God wants me to always rejoice, continually pray, and give thanks even in frustrating situations—even when I can’t get the help I think I need. This is an opportunity to let the Holy Spirit bear fruit in me—patience and self-control specifically. I can choose to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. I could pray, “Lord, please help me to let go of my old ways and be renewed in Christ-likeness. Thank You for this chance to grow.”
Ephesians 4:22-24 “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
(Both quotes NIV)
Once in a small group meeting, I lamented the fact that I had wasted much of my life in living more for me than for Jesus. I added, “And now I’m old. I don’t have very much time left to live for Him and not myself.”
One of the women responded, “Yes, but when you repent and go God’s way now, you aren’t just changing for the rest of your earthly life; you’re changing for eternity.”
Wow! That’s right. I had forgotten. Remembering this truth helps me “forget what lies behind” and “press on toward the goal of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).”
1 Peter 1:23 NLT “For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.”
A couple of winters ago, I went through a 4-month long battle with anxiety. Most of the time, the anxiety had the upper hand, but God, using various means both “sacred” and “secular,” faithfully helped me through the struggle. During that time, I felt humbled as God exposed pockets of unbelief and pride in my soul.
All my life I had tried to perform to perfection (unbelief pocket). I constantly compared myself with others, looking down on some and looking up to others, thinking I ought to be like them and feeling ashamed that I wasn’t (pride pockets).
My prayer: Lord, I need help! How can I break free from these ugly traps? I need to trust Your grace instead of thinking I have to be perfect for acceptance. You hate pride. I don’t want to continue in it. In Your Word, You tell me to keep my eyes on Jesus and to set my mind on things above (heavenly things) where Christ is. Holy Spirit, please help me put these Scriptures into practice in my daily life. Amen.
With my eyes on Jesus, and my mind set on heavenly realities, I can get away from self-focus, dump the ungodly stuff out of my pockets, and fill up on the life God gives.
From Hebrews 12:1-2 “…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith….”
Colossians 3:1-2 “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
Psalm 16:8 “ I have set the Lord always before me [One version says ‘I keep my eyes always on the Lord’]; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.”
(All Scriptures NKJV.)
One of my favorite names for God is “Maker of Heaven and Earth” because it spoke peace to me in a crisis a few years back. At that time I searched for comfort one night by leafing through the Psalms. I came upon Psalm 124:8—“Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth (NKJV).” I could relax. No matter what happened, my hope was in the God who made heaven and earth. It would be all right.
So when God points out to Job in Job 38 the greatness of His creative acts, I’m reminded to praise the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Some things to praise God for from Job 38:4-11 NIV:
You, Lord God,
- Laid the earth’s foundations;
- Marked off its dimensions;
- Shut up the sea behind doors when it first burst forth;
- Clothed it with clouds;
- Wrapped the sea in darkness;
- Fixed limits for it;
- Told the sea, “You can come this far, no farther,” and “Here is where your proud waves halt.” (And it obeyed.)
“Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation. Oh, my soul, praise Him, for He is my help and salvation! All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near. Join me in glad adoration.”–from the hymn ”Praise to the Lord the Almighty” (lyrics and video at https://www.godtube.com/popular-hymns/praise-to-the-lord-the-almighty/
As a young person, I prayed to know God’s will, mainly wanting to know what career I should choose. I didn’t hear any answers to that prayer. I had grown up in church and committed my life to Christ at an early age; however, I didn’t learn to rely on Him and to submit my will to His until years later.
Most of the time, I tried to live by feelings, fear, “ought-to’s,” and my own understanding. This resulted in my making many poor choices in life. Those decisions never gave me the happiness, satisfaction, or sense of being loved which I craved. It’s no wonder they didn’t provide those things, though. What I longed for comes only from trusting and loving God with my whole being, letting go of my own ways, and living for Jesus. I wanted good things, but I didn’t trust the Giver of all good things.
Although my faith has grown since then, I still don’t always make wise choices. But I’m learning to trust God more and ask Him about things in life. I’m also trying to focus more on Jesus and less on me. How thankful I am for God’s patience and forgiveness! He never quit loving me, and He never gave up on me.
Thank You, Lord.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 – NKJV
“But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for ‘the just shall live by faith.’” Galatians 3:11–NKJV
Today as I focused on Jesus—His beauty, wisdom, goodness, and grace—a thought of past failure came to distract me. So I had to remind myself that my past was taken care of at the cross.
Thank You, Jesus, for carrying my sins away there.
Yesterday’s gone. I can’t go back there. If I keep trying to go back, I’m going to miss Jesus in the now. He is living TODAY. Likewise, I won’t see Jesus in this day if I get off into the lands of “What if…” or “If only….”
My thoughts, words, and actions today are writing a page in the story of my life. When it is written, I want it to bring honor and praise to God my Father and His Son Jesus Christ. His Holy Spirit gives me power to do that.
Jesus calls me to follow Him and abide in Him in this “Today.” So I tell myself, “Stop looking at guilt and regret, and quit trying to control tomorrow. Look at Jesus and trust Him.”
“Blessed is the [person] who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For [they] shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8 NKJV)