Monday, December 7, 2009

The benefits of being heavenly minded

Good morning my friends. It is my sincere hope that you all had an amazing time at your respective centers of worship yesterday. We are continuing with our mini series on Paul's instruction to keep our heart and mind on things above and not on earthly things. This morning I would like us to consider some of the practical outcomes of living in such a manner. We will look at three verses.

After giving us instruction on what to avoid and what to take on in our relationship with Jesus, the Spirit inspires Paul to write:

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)

 Peace is something everyone wants to experience, no one enjoys a life filled with worry and fear. Here Paul instructs us to "let", allow, permit this peace to be the ruler of our hearts. He says that it is the thing that we have all been called to. It is not something we have to go seek in some monastery or achieve through deep meditation. Peace is ours, it is what Jesus gives to us, all we have to do is let it happen, permit it to have dominion over everything else in our heart, to cause all fear and worry to submit to this peace. Of course it is only possible when we have a trust relationship with Jesus. Whether you have claimed what is yours as a child of God is up to you, just know that it is yours for the taking.

The Spirit continues his inspiration:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. v. 16

Again Paul uses that same word, "let", allow, permit, God's Word to live in you. But not just live in you, to live in you richly. The Word is the source for all wise teaching and correcting. The Word is also the source of all worship. Again, it is not something we have to go out and seek or go to some great halls of wisdom to understand. We just have to allow the Word of God to come in. Study it and the Spirit will hide it away, bringing it out as we need it. If we allow something else to enter in then that thing will become our source, but it will not have the benefit of the Word of God.

Again Paul writes by the inspiration of the Spirit:

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. v. 17

All these things are the result of keeping our mind and heart on things above. Jesus becomes our inspiration and motivation for everything we do and say. The more we are focused on him the more we live for him. It only makes sense. Jesus told us that wherever our treasure is that is where our heart will be. If Jesus is the most important person of your life that is where your heart is. If sports are your treasure then they will be your motivation. If education is your treasure then it will also be your motivation. If it is your family then it is the family that inspires. The thing is that everything fades, everything fails, everything can lose value except for Jesus Christ. We have to get centered on him.

Now go back and read the verses again. Do you see what I have been ignoring? All through these three verses there was been a theme; one thing mentioned again, and again. Paul uses different words but they all mean the same thing: be thankful, with gratitude, giving thanks. In all these benefits this is the one that runs throughout. It is impossible to walk closely with Jesus, to receive all his treasures and to experience all these blessings without gaining a heart of thanksgiving. It is the one attitude that we are told again and again to take on as we enter the presence of our Father:

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
       and his courts with praise;
       give thanks to him and praise his name.
(Psalm 100:4)

Thanksgiving is the heart of every worshiper of Jesus. It is an attitude that permeates us because of the richness of our relationship with the King of kings and Lord of lords.

It is my hope that you now see, understand and appreciate the benefits of getting our minds off of earthly things and setting our minds and hearts on things above. It begins with our desire and our will in our relationship with Jesus. Do we love him enough to desire to be our best? Then let's make the effort today by beginning with worship and thanksgiving.

No comments: