Bible Order: Judges 14–16
Chronological Order: Deuteronomy 29:1–31:29
New Testament Only: Luke 1:26–38
Keep Your Eye On The Prize!
Do you love God? I know, we are all nodding our head; “Yep I love God. I really love the Big Guy!” But do we really mean what we say? I told folks the other night that my priorities are God, Marriage, Child, Work; in that order but that I spend my time in a reverse order: Work, Child, Marriage, God. Now, as we all know, time is not the only measure of love. But I remember back to the days I was dating my wife. I’m a very fortunate man by the way; but I digress.
When I was dating the woman who would become my wife, I had her on my mind all the time; I mean morning, noon, and night. I couldn’t wait to see her again and eagerly made plans to spend as much time with her as possible. As we all know, that kind of focus on a relationship is hard to maintain. My wife and I today seem almost like two ships in the night with work, school, art classes, cheerleading, and so on. How have I come to a place where work is on my mind more than my wife? Something wrong there; I need to change that.
The same is true about our time and thought life with God. Paul said to the Thessalonians:
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
And to the Philippians:
Philippians 4:4-7 ESV
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
“Pray with our ceasing” and “Rejoice in the Lord always”; do you see the continual, ongoing attitude in which we are to exist or “abide”? Notice at the end of Philippians 4:7 that doing this leads to our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus being guarded by the peace of God? Remember over the past few days how I’ve mentioned that we are to put on the mind of Christ. This is part of what it means to put on that mind; to be in a constant state of prayer and rejoicing. This is a bit confusing I know; I can just see you guys attempting to kneel in prayer and jump for joy all at the same time. It’s giving me a rather comical word picture here! Of course, you can pray without kneeling and you can rejoice without jumping so settle down.
God, as we have seen is concerned about the condition and location of our heart. Here in Deuteronomy God tells us to keep our hearts and souls on His word:
Deuteronomy 11:18-21 ESV
“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth.”
We don’t have to stop working or taking care of the many responsibilities we have as men in order to keep our hearts and minds on God. We do have to make a concerted effort to train ourselves and our family to have our hearts and minds focused on God as we take care of our responsibilities. This is not, however, a get out of jail free card. This doesn’t mean that you don’t need to read God’s word since you are thinking about Him on a regular basis. As the passage from today’s reading demonstrates we are to be reading, and memorizing, and discussing God’s word at every opportunity.
I realize that in today’s hostile environment it may be difficult to discuss the things of God at work but does that hostility keep you from using your mind? Can you not set regular moments for yourself to pause and review a verse of scripture you’re attempting to memorize or at the very least pray and praise God?
One of Satan’s best weapons is his ability to create so much noise in our lives that we allow ourselves to lose focus on God. Slowly we get out of the habit or never even build the habit of keeping our mind where it needs to be. Don’t let him do that to you. Decide to make God and His word your number one priority. Decide how you are going to get and keep your mind in His word and your heart on God; and then do it. Everything that takes your attention today is temporary. Having a mind on Christ is eternal. How are you going to spend your time and energy?
Have a blessed day!
Your brother and servant in Christ,
Dying to self, living to serve!
(Originally posted 3/5/10)