Philippians 4:7-9 (NLT) And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
My attitude will always influence my actions. My mindset motivates my methods. My perception forms the premise of reality in which I live. I must take responsibility for the reactions and responses in my life but thanks be to God I have a helper. It is human nature to react to the things that happen around us. The conditions, circumstances and situations that arise around us force us to choose what happens next although one may feel helpless this is not the case. The outcome of the trial and test is determined before the flame grows hotter. We must become intentional in giving our attention to things worthwhile and beneficial rather than dwelling on the variables over which there is no control or ability to change.
“Though you cannot control the wind, you can adjust your sails.” The author of this statement is unknown but that does not invalidate the wisdom in the words. Charles Swindoll said, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” More wise words that can change our thinking and adaptability in life. We are not called to conform to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our mind which tells me that I have the power to change inside of me. Fix your thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable. In other words, fix your eyes on Jesus. I wonder today how many things would have turned out differently if this principle was applied earlier in my life. I do not regret the events and occurrences that brought to the place I am right now – I am more reflecting on how I can respond differently and in a more positive way futuristically.
Proverbs 4:23-27 (NLT) Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech. Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.
As a kid, I was in a gymnastics class. My favorite event was the balance beam. As I would walk the straight line of the slightly rounded yet unyielding beam, my feet would mold around it an attempt to stay upright and not fall. I remember the more that I focused on the four inch course about four feet off the ground – it was inevitable that I would begin to teeter back and forth. But if I focused on something across the gym, I could right myself. It was only when my attention became fixed on falling that I felt the slick surface of the mat. I wonder how many times the distractions of life lure our attention from the only one who is constant and unyielding in our life. Jesus does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. The author and finisher of faith will complete the good work that He has begun in you and bring every seed to harvest.
We must guard our heart above all else. It determines, not only the course of our spiritual life, but also our natural life. To learn to respond to the Lord, His Word, His Way and His Will is to align our lives with something better than we could ever produce for ourselves. To remain focus on fixing us rather than fixing our situation or those around us will inevitably benefit and bless our life in the future. Look straight ahead. Some days it feels like a mind field with explosions of problems and problem people who are bent on distracting, detouring or even maybe destroying us. The Lord does not give any credence to the giants we are facing as He has overcome them all. It is our trust in His Ability to bring us in safe harbor that sets our heart and mind on Him and not the troubles we are facing.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NLT) For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
Human nature reacts to the temporary troubles that arise in our life. It is the flesh that does not like to be uncomfortable, inconvenienced or even lose control. The condition of our heart in response to the flesh that determines the outcome. Christ lives in us. His Will, Way and Word contradict our mind and body so in order to overcome – He must be the ruler of our body, mind and spirit. His Way must become our way. The value of Christ in us determines our attitude and actions each day. Do I value the Spirit of God in me? Do I understand the investment that Christ has made in me? Do I know what I am actually worth? I will not have to prove myself to others once my faith becomes confident home in the God who lives in me. It is then that I learn to trust Him over the influence and indications of my life. It is in His Kingdom I will invest because it will be the place of the greatest return. This world has nothing for me. I am a Child of the King. I do not feed from the crumbs under His Table but feast with Him in the presence of my enemies.
“Walk by faith not by sight…” seems like such a tall order until one begins to see the Grace and Glory of God manifest in changed outcomes. The promise is greater than our problem in every situation but if our faith is focused on the problem it will hinder our promise. We will give power to the problems allowed to take precedence in our mind. Examining our heart and mind is essential. Weeding out the thoughts and ideas contrary to God’s Word will help. We must feed and fortify faith with the Bread of Life and Living Water in order to strengthen our spirit man to keep our flesh under tight control. We must allow the Lord to lift our perception of life to His Vantage Point. His Ways and Thoughts always higher than our own temporary and immediate thinking. Lord, fix my eyes on the unseen today. Allow my faith to be strengthened by Your Word and let your Spirit work through me to weed out any and all thoughts not consistent with your Will and Way for my life.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
I wonder what our life might be like if each day our primary goal was to focus our eyes on Jesus Christ. To consciously and intentionally decide that it doesn’t matter what happens, I am setting my full attention on the Lord. We are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses. The crowd is full on many personalities. Some cheering us on, others trying to dissuade us, and some who just want to see you fail who will continually throw things at us trying to make us fall, but they are all just the crowd. They are all just people. The same ones Jesus died for, loves and constantly pursues. They do not have any impact or influence on my relationship with Jesus Christ. They cannot steal my blessings, take my promises or stop my potential – unless I give them the power to do so. Instead, I fix my eyes on Jesus. He is my Champion. He initiates and perfects faith within me and all I must do is stay aligned with Him. All those weights and heavy burdens of mine now belong to Him. He is perfecting all that concerns me. He is making good of every detail of my life. Nothing and no one can separate me from the Love of God. Sin no longer keeps us separated. When I focus on these things and not the temporary trials and troubles in life, it seems that the weight of such burdens melt away and it is smooth sailing up ahead. I love that I have this hope to anchor my soul. Lord, help me to remember today and always that I cannot control the wind, but I can adjust and align my sails with You!
Psalm 107:29-31 (NLT) He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.