Almost a year ago, I was sitting in my office and our student pastor, Jamie, was sitting on the couch and we were talking. The couch in my office is a dark grey/black and Jamie was wearing a black hoodie. At some point during our conversation, I noticed that I couldn't tell where his jacket ended and the couch began. I realized that I needed to suck it up and go to the eye doctor. Long story short...I now have glasses that...(hang on a second), I am wearing right now.
In that moment, I wasn't able to focus and distinguish between the objects in front of me. My focus was out of place and not where it needed to be in order for me to see clearly the world in front of me. Our spiritual lives function in much the same way.
Colossians 3:1&2 - If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
At some point or another we have all dealt with a struggle, habit, sin, or attitude that has not been the optimal way to experience life. We can easily become consumed by those struggles. We think and focus on how not to be defeated by them, how not to fall to temptation, and how to “beat” whatever it is. Here’s the kicker…when we are trying so hard to not do those things and to defeat them, they are our primary focus. We are focusing on the problem instead of the one who can solve the problem.
This passage in Colossians tells us to set our minds on the things that are above, not on things here on earth. We read in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” When God is our primary focus, our struggles and attitudes seem to fall in line. That’s not to say that it is easy, it is still a challenge for sure. However, when we are focusing on God and his glorious might, those other things fade in comparison to him. It’s a simple, focus on the positive, not the negative scenario.
I pray that God would help us to focus on Him and his glory. As a Christ follower, our pursuit of God and the knowledge of who he is one of the key steps in our continued growth and maturity. Another step is engaging in telling God’s story. Instead of focusing on the problems, struggles, and sin…focus on God and take those struggles to him and find great rest, strength, and peace from that.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Proverbs 4:20-27 - My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape form your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.
There are a couple of takeaways from this passage. This whole chapter is really good and I’d encourage you to read it on your own. You can follow the link here for the whole chapter…Proverbs 4. The first several chapters of Proverbs, are Solomon’s instructions to his son to pursue wisdom and to follow God. If you read through Chronicles and Kings in the Bible, you’ll see that, sadly his didn’t follow his instruction and it went badly for him and all of Israel. That goes to show that sometimes, we can do all we can as a parent, but ultimately the choice is made by the individual what decisions they will make…but that’s another topic altogether.
First, we can see that Solomon (the writer of Proverbs), cares about his son and wants him to be wise and follow the Lord. He knows that if he will follow the instruction of God, he will have a more fruitful, happy, and productive life. For those of us that are parents, it is paramount that we continually point our children to the Lord. By our actions we show them just how important God is to us. We can talk about it and tell them to do the right things all day long, but if they don’t see us living it out, it simply won’t take root. The example can hold true whether you have children or not. We are to set the example with our lives to the younger generation and always point them to the amazing goodness that is Christ. They need to see and know that we live an believe the things that we tell them. Wisdom and the love of God are firm foundations to build life upon.
Second, we can take these things to our hearts as individuals. We can apply these teachings to our lives and pursue godliness, wisdom, and life. As I said previously, when we pursue these things personally, it makes teaching them easier, because the student, child, intern, whatever can see that we truly believe the things that we are teaching. In other words, we must always be sure as Christ followers to “practice what we preach”.
Pray that God would help you to share and impart the wisdom that He has given you to the next generation of leaders. I pray that God would help each of us to continue to seek to know Him more and to walk in the wisdom that he has provided for us in Scripture. May each of us relentlessly chase after wisdom.