As we have the first few weeks of the new year under our belts, it has brought to mind how quickly things change—the calendar, the weather, our plans, politics, the daily news. So much going on around us and changing continually.
I was just sitting here reading something that a friend sent me about our obligation to be light in the darkness around us. It reinforced the message we heard this morning in our church, about the difference that one faithful person can make. The Ananias who was sent to touch Saul and restore his sight, is a man of virtual anonymity and obscurity but his obedience to God’s call helped change the world of his day and ours.
Can I make a difference? As this same Saul, later called Paul, tells us in his letter to the Philippians 4:12-13 “12) I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13) I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” In Christ I can do ALL that God asks me to do. I think we often forget the qualifier of “Not my will but thine be done” Luke 22:42. It is God who strengthens me to do HIS work and I can trust to His provision every step of the way. I truly want to make a difference but it’s not easy.
One of the things that haunt us, I think, is the inconvenience of serving God. We have grown accustomed to “convenience”—Convenience stores, convenience foods, convenience tools that order our lives. But I have found through scripture and experience that God most often works in unexpected ways, times and circumstances, using ordinary people—in that interruption of our plans and schedules. Most people don’t schedule time for the flu that is rampaging around us, or for blizzards, scorching heat, floods or accidents. As a people governed by the clock and the calendar are we ready to hear from the God, who, on the other hand, is concerned with “eternity” not time?
Some scriptures that give us parameters for walking successfully by faith and availability to God include 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 “3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” Such powerful verses remind us that we are walking in this world, yet we have supernatural power to do God’s work, God’s way. We must remember, as we have talked about the last few weeks, that we are in a battle once we come to Jesus. But God tells us here, that our weapons are empowered by God –Mighty through GOD– to pull down, cast down, and bring captive the things that plague our minds.
And that, my friends is the point I’d like to focus on this week. The battle is most often in our minds. Our thoughts become desires, desires become actions, actions become habits, and habits shape and produce character, which determines our destiny. If we can learn to recognize the importance of our thought life, it will result in our spiritual growth this year and beyond for Jesus. How to accomplish this hinges on whether I will bring every thought into the ‘obedience of Jesus Christ’? To do this, I must develop a Biblical mindset. I must read and study the Word of God regularly and consistently, at all costs. I know how easy it is to neglect time devoted to God’s Word but we must make it a priority!!!
Another helpful verse is Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” I must check the “enemy” at the door of my mind. When those thoughts come—all thoughts—I simply run them through the checklist of Phil. 4:8. Is this thought true? Honest? Just? Pure? …. If not, then I must reject that thought and think on the things of God instead. Memorizing these 2 passages will be invaluable to you as you deal with your thought life moment by moment. And I know it’s a moment-by-moment battle!
I’d like to wrap up with parts of 2 verses from 2 Timothy (2:15 & 3:16-17) “Study to show yourself approved unto God…” To find God’s approval I must study HIS word, because “all scripture is inspired by God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness….” God’s word will do its work in me as I spend time in it, and seek God’s face through it. James 1:25 says “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” I hope this will encourage us all to make God’s Word a priority in our lives each and every day. May His blessings rest on you and grow you in grace and truth through His Spirit and His Word. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11