Things Above: An Excerpt From "GraceLaced"
Words, Illustration, and Image No. 2 by Ruth Chou Simons // Image No. 1 by Dianne Jago
Whether we like it or not, dwelling on the past can’t change it. It won’t undo the circumstances, erase the pain, solve the problems, or answer all the questions. The biggest difference made by lingering on the past is in the way it changes us, and rarely for the better.
We have but 24 hours in a day and, if we try to get our rest, only 14 hours of actively using our minds. How often I squander those precious hours worrying about the future or analyzing the past. This is the day that the Lord has made! He’s made me to rejoice in it…this day.
Do you struggle to focus your mind on the present?
How our minds wander reflects what we deem most worthy—more than we might think. Even in something as essential as worship, we can sometimes forget that praising God is a battle for our minds before it is an act of our hearts. Lifting up our hands and kneeling are responses to what we believe is most worthy, and worthiness finds definition in our thoughts. We will worship what we set our minds on…what we behold. So it makes sense for the apostle Paul to remind us in various ways through his letters to the churches: set your minds on things above.
Why does he have to remind us to do so? Because we naturally set our minds on things of earth…
All of those are worthwhile things to consider if they don’t become what we are set on or anchored to. Firmly planted, fully committed, deeply rooted, confidently grounded—all these describe what it means to set our minds on something. If that something is of this world (even if it is myself) it will be shaken and cannot last forever. But if that something is of him—of the kingdom—our minds and hearts will be aligned with what is eternal.
And so we take Paul’s encouragement to heart:
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (Philippians 4:8)
Lord, enable us to “take every thought captive” (2 Cor. 10:5) so that obedience, worship, and praise might overflow from eyes, minds, and hearts set on you.
I'm regularly amazed at how quickly I forget. How short my retention. How often I need to revisit this truth again and again.
What's on your mind today? Did you wake up thinking about the laundry that is piling up? Did your mind wander back to stagnant pools of worry and concern? How quickly these thoughts fill our minds, making little room for what we were made to fix our minds upon: Christ himself. He is the perfecter of our faith: the one who is seated (not standing!) and at rest. Because the finished work of the Cross is our peace today, we can anchor our harried minds with the truth of the gospel and be at rest.
Excerpt taken from: GraceLaced. Copyright © 2017 by Ruth Chou Simons. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used by permission.