How easy it is to read scripture, love it, be fed by it, get a happy feeling from it, find God right there in it…then close the Book, walk away, and forget to live by the Truth we just read.
Don’t kick yourself over it. We’re never going to “arrive.” We’re human. We are fighting an enemy who wants nothing more than to see us struggle. He knows enough about us to know our weak points, and that’s exactly where he fires his arrows.
That’s why we eagerly read this read this…
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9
Great scripture, right? It’s one of my favorites. Indeed, we can read it, love it, be fed by it, get a happy feeling from it, find God right there in it, and commit to focus here. But before we know it, we’re living like this:
Whatever is bothering you, whatever you’re worried about, whatever you have no control over, whatever makes you angry, whatever hurt your feelings, whatever made you sad, whatever may or may not happen, whatever is in the past that you can’t change…think about such things. Whatever you’ve seen and tried that doesn’t work, keep doing it and remain in that rut of despair. And overwhelming hopelessness will hold you in bondage.
Been there? Me too. It’s painful, pointless, and far too easy to remain in that ugly circle of anxious thoughts that serve only to keep us from peaceful rest in Christ.
It really is possible to re-train our thought life so that we drop-kick the negativity and worry. We definitely don’t want to stay in this camp, right? It is not fun here. It’s cold, muddy, and it rains all the time. There’s no joy in the prison of fear. Bleh. Get me out from under this dark cloud of self pity and bitterness.
And Jesus says, “Yes! I’d be happy to. In fact, I already did. I’m right there with you, everywhere you go. Turn your focus to Me. I am love. I am peace. I am joy.”
Because of the strength we gain when we take our weaknesses to the cross, we’ve got this! It takes the power of prayer. We have to intentionally stop the negative, pointless thoughts that want to take over our minds, take them captive, and make them obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Because of Jesus, we are living in victory! Remembering this truth sets our hearts free to focus on all that is true, noble, right, lovely, pure, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.