June 17, 2014

It is a big Jesus, not a small world

“ . . . You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” (Psalm 23:5)

Yesterday God reminded me that I can have peace in my heart even when irritations buzz around like flies. Today, He speaks about those irritations are sometimes inside my head in the form of thoughts that will not go away. They are like (dare I say it?) the words of “It’s a Small World” or worse — the nagging voice of criticism, but inner irritations can also be simple, like trying to remember someone’s name.

Jesus said it was not the outside stuff that defiles us, but that which is on the inside. He was referring to sinners and evil desires, but Christians have inner battles too. Even though Christ lives in us, Satan knows that if he can get us thinking wrong, then we will soon behave in sinful ways. This is why Romans 12:2 says to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Another favorite passage concerning the mind is Isaiah 26:3-4. It says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”

The psalmist also declared . . .

Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts. I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word. I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. (Psalm 119:97–104)

Meditating on the Lord and on His principles is not easy. We live in a busy world. Our minds are bombarded by media of all kinds, never mind the inner workings of memories and active imaginations. Many Christians say that what they read in their morning devotions vanishes from their minds by lunchtime.

From the above verses and from experience, I know the benefits of keeping my mind on the Lord. When He speaks and offers guidance, I am far more apt to hear Him when I am tuned in and not distracted by my inner voices and noises.

It is not easy, but possible to meditate on Christ. However, the Bible says that this is uniquely a Christian experience. Those who know Jesus can set their minds on Him because He lives in us and we have His mind, but also because we know what it means to yield to Him in trusting submission . . .

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. (Romans 8:5–9)

Hebrews 12:1-3 tells me to lay aside the things that weigh me down, sin and all else, and keep my eyes on Jesus. When I consider Him, “the founder and perfecter of my faith” then He sets me free from those mental battles that can make me “weary or fainthearted” even more so than those irritations of life over which I have no control.

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