Although we are practicing social distancing, the Gospel message remains unchained! This devotional is best with some time (20-30min), coffee/tea, and a notebook. Enjoy!
Set Your Heart on Things Above
By: Cheryl Rountree
Philippians 4:5b “The Lord is near.”
As I think of this Scripture and meditate on its meaning, it brings great comfort in many ways. Our amazing and powerful Creator God is near. Near to you and to me. Near to comfort, to protect, to guide, to discipline, to speak, and to strengthen.
(Encouragement: Meditate for 1 minute on each of the following passages and think about what this means for you personally and for us collectively)
Psalm 91:1 “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
2 Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”
Job33:14 “For God does speak – now one way, now another – though man may not perceive it.”
Isaiah 41:13 “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
People love choices. Mostly, people love to believe we have self-determination and control over our lives. Disciples of Jesus fully understand God is Sovereign and we must surrender to His ways and plans. However, the spiritual choice we consistently face is the mindset of our thoughts and the trigger of our feelings.
Difficult and troubling situations in our lives allow us the opportunity to practice what Paul teaches in Colossians.
Colossians 3:1-2 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
Our souls have been raised with Jesus so Paul instructs us to set our feelings and our thoughts on that which pleases God, not on that which is of this world. I have a distinctly different experience when my focus is godly and I consider thoughts to serve God and His Ways, rather than my anxious and indulgent self-focused thinking. My feelings of upset, worry, even irritability and bitterness, can fully diminish and transform to peace, love and joy when I choose to obey God’s Word and carve His commands onto my vulnerable heart.
In Mark 8:33, Jesus rebukes Peter strongly and states that he “does not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” I take pause here and reflect on how this may easily pertain to times in my life. When I am anxious or upset, I unknowingly leave room for Satan to cloud and distort my thinking. God’s ways become small in my mind or forgotten and I can think in ways that are fearful or negative. It is interesting that Peter later writes in 1 Peter 3:6b, “You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.” Peter is instructing women to be submissive with godly husbands and not be led astray by fearful emotions. Satan employs fear and pride to deceive us to unrighteous thoughts and actions.
The power of prayer is necessary to call upon a Near God to be set straight. I am so grateful for God’s lavish grace which allows me to approach His throne with confidence and receive mercy to find help in a time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
Reflect: Take a minute to reflect on how the battle to maintain a spiritual, Christ-like mindset has been going for you recently.
Imagine: Close your eyes and think about “things above” where Christ is seated at the right hand of God let your worries melt away there
Practice: What is a scripture you can put into practice today?
Question: What are you fearful, upset, or anxious about right now and how can you see God move in the situation?
Pray: Take some time now to unplug and just pray about everything that came to mind during this devotional. Take all your worries, fears, emotions, concerns, thoughts to God and hand them all over to him knowing that he cares deeply for you and leave your time of prayer with a mind set on “things above” ready to put the words of God into practice today).