t is easy to forget that this is not home, this is not the end of the story. Colossians 3:1-2 reminds me I am to set my heart and mind on things above, not on earthly things. How do I apply what appears to be such a lofty verse? I live here on earth and have to face the actual struggles that come along with this reality. Setting my heart and mind on things above is a daily decision. It does not mean I ignore the realities here on earth, but my heart and attention are more tuned in to the things above, consequently affecting how I respond to what happens here on earth. If I set my heart and mind on things above, that means I am not moved by what I see. I do not allow what I see to dictate my actions and emotions. Instead, I filter everything here on earth through heaven’s reality and what God has said about it. Setting my heart and mind on things above keeps me in a place of peace. Setting my heart and mind on things above means I occupy my mind with God’s Kingdom and not culture. I look for ways to be a light, even when the dark is overwhelming. I don’t dim my light to fit in with the dark. With my mind set on things above, I remember God has given me a task to shine on and all for His glory! Setting my heart and mind on things above demand I break up with comfort and embrace the cross. This means I speak with grace what heaven says about controversial topics and not shy away from truth because of the inevitable persecution that will come. Setting my heart and mind on things above means I pursue God’s purpose, not my own, while keeping a steady gaze on the greater city that is awaiting me. Take inventory of your recent actions and thoughts and they will reveal where you have set your heart and mind, whether it is on things above or worldly things.
I was on a roll yesterday displaying how highly I thought of myself. At the moment it felt good, and it satisfied my flesh. I wanted to have the upper hand; I wanted to appear as if I had it all together and had all the answers. But shortly after, conviction set it. God revealed that it was pride that motivated my words and actions. Praise God for His conviction, it reminds me I am His. Truly, He disciplines those He loves. As God showed me myself, it grieved me and I repented… AGAIN! I told Him I wanted to side with heaven concerning the sin of pride. I don’t want to keep it as a treasure. I want to have heaven’s perspective about pride and have a great disdain for it. I don’t want to justify my pride; I want to confess it before the only one that can deliver me from it. It is a process but one that I intend to yield to because I know that God’s word is true, He does “resist the proud but give grace to the humble” (James 4:6). And oh, how I desperately need grace! How about you? Perhaps your area of struggle is not the same as mine, but are you willing to side with heaven concerning your sin? Have you taken on heaven’s perspective or are you busy petting and justifying your sins? God’s grace is there to bring deliverance, but we must acknowledge our sin and see it the same way He does. Let us embrace walking in humility and side with heaven’s perspective of sin and watch God work in our hearts!
Many people are extremely worried right now because of the chaos that is going on in the world. However, it is in times like these where I am reminded of the many benefits of serving God. I can say with confidence that my heart is at peace because I rest in knowing that KING JESUS is still on the throne! “When the world around me is sinking sand on Christ the solid rock I stand,” rings true in this season. The surrounding chaos has made me even more aware of God’s peace. The darkness makes me more aware of the light. In John 14:27 Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” What a soothing balm for such chaotic times. As believers, we should cling and live in the reality of Jesus’ words. As we engage others in conversation, I pray we will not come into agreement with anxiousness but we will seize the many opportunities to share Jesus-the Prince of Peace with others. May God help us not to fumble and miss the harvest of worried souls. What an awesome opportunity for the bride of Christ to shine. The hour is dark, so shine on church, shine on!
“I can’t believe all this is going on,” seems to be a popular phrase these days. But God’s response to the shock of the people is, “Why are you so surprised, what did you expect?” Many have rejected God as king and we have chosen other kings; and we are now experiencing the fruit of our allegiance. We have chosen greed, lust, vanity, worldly success and principles, over a holy non-compromising God. These things have become an idol for us, and we have sacrificed our allegiance to God on their altars. So yes, we should believe what is going on. It should not be a surprise to us. When we reject God as king, chaos is inevitable! God wants to be there for us, but if we have uninvited him from being king of our lives, then we should expect a big mess like we have now! What is the remedy to this mess we are in? Contrary to popular beliefs, they will not find the remedy in government, a vaccine, money, or legislation that pushes for equality for all. While these things may appear good on the surface, they don’t address the posture of our hearts. The remedy is repentance. Having a contrite heart and owning our sin is the best place to start. We can’t cry out to God to fix the mess we made while still holding on to our idols. We must come before him broken and weeping. We must confess the sins of the nation, the compromise in the church and in our own life. Our hearts have been fickle, yet He has been faithful and constant. I pray that we will do more than just rehearse 2 Chronicles 7:14 because we know it is the right verse to quote during a time like this. I pray that we will implement this verse in our corporate and private times of worship.
Many think we can live a loose life, abusing grace and continuing on in our sin and still make it into heaven. They want to relax God’s standards of holiness and will say, “it doesn’t take all of that to live saved.” But judging from the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:29-30, it takes all of that! In this passage Jesus states, “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” Jesus makes it clear that we are to go to extreme measures to keep ourselves in a place of purity and to flee temptation. He is not encouraging us to harm ourselves by gouging out our eyes and chopping off our hand. He instead is saying that we should remove from our lives the things that will cause us to succumb to temptations, even if our actions seem radical. Living saved is not for the faint of heart, and the temptations of the enemy are real. We cannot take a passive approach in resisting temptation. We have to radically reject what the enemy brings us and the things that make us stumble. If you have stumbled, don’t stay knocked down. Repent and, as the Lord reveals the things that threaten to ensnare you again, be mindful to flee from those things. We don’t have to do this in our own strength, God’s grace is there to keep us from falling if we want to be kept. The sinful pleasures we deny ourselves of now are nothing compared to the reward that awaits us in heaven.
“Not today, Satan!” These words must be more than a cute saying on a t-shirt or hashtag. We must live in the reality of telling the enemy to get behind us and that he will not stand in our way of moving forward in God. We won’t succumb to his evil tactics. We won’t get caught in his web of lies. Saints of God, this is not the time to become distracted! We have to armor up; we are in a full fledged war and we have to engage in warfare even if we don’t want to. When soldiers are on the battlefield, they must remain sober and press beyond how they feel and remain focused on the mission. They fight with victory in mind and they focus. It is easy to get distracted by tangential issues and lose sight of who the real enemy is. If we are not careful, the devil can trick us into fighting those who are on our side instead of galvanizing together and fighting against the real enemy.
What would happen if husbands and wives put aside their self-serving agendas? What if they focused not only on being happy but becoming holy, adopting a servant’s heart towards each other, not insisting on always being right, and came together in prayer and declared with boldness, “NOT TODAY SATAN!”
What would happen if different denominations stopped arguing over the nonessentials, holding higher the tradition of men than the word of God but band together to bombard heaven and declare with boldness, “NOT TODAY SATAN!”
What would happen if we spend more time with God than we do with our electronics? What if we stopped saying we don’t have time to spend time with God and instead humbly admit that we have not made it a priority and have idols in our lives that take our worship? What if we were intentional about positioning ourselves to hear His voice and declare with boldness, “NOT TODAY SATAN!”
What would happen if the church would reach across racial lines, stop being racist towards our brothers and sisters in Christ and pursue authentic unity that comes from seeking the face of the father together? What if we stopped taking cues from the world on how to address the sin of racism and instead humble ourselves and pray with one voice defiantly declaring, “NOT TODAY SATAN!”
What would happen if we were more focused on getting more of God instead of more earthly possessions and status? What if when the enemy comes to lure us away with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, we declare with boldness, “NOT TODAY SATAN!”
I tell you what would happen, Satan would have to flee and we would see God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven! I repeat, this is not the time for us to become distracted. We have to fight to claim the victory that is already ours in Christ Jesus! I pray that the church will awaken from spiritual slumber and see the distractions for what they really are. I pray we will get over ourselves and our own agendas and pursue the agenda of heaven!
Colossians 3:2 NIV
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.