Colossians 3 tells us to set our hearts and minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Reading, knowing, and studying God’s word serves many purposes, but one of the greatest is to help us live in a healthy way.
I did it again today. I partook of a conversation that focused exclusively on earthly things, and God immediately put Colossians 3 in my head.
Set is an action, to place something in a specified place or position. Regularly we set timers and alarm clocks, goals and deadlines. Setting is an integral part of our lives. So why do we not regularly set our hearts and minds on things not of this place? Especially if it improves our health. This is not our home, after all. Satan knows when to catch me off guard and have me focus on all that is suffocating to a soul and darkens a spirit. He distracts me from the light that is just beyond the swirl of black. Setting takes focus, energy, and sometimes even strength, but for my health, and for your health, maybe it’s time to set our hearts, minds, ears, eyes, thoughts, and soul, on things above. God knows what will keep us healthy, but our enemy also knows. Distraction is one of his greatest ploys.
Time for a reset, yet again.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. - Psalm 51:10 Some versions use the word "pure" in place of clean. Clean, by definition, means "free from dirt, marks, or stains." Pure means, "free of any contamination; not mixed or adulterated with any other substance or material." Today this Psalm spoke boldly to me. It tells me I am not capable of keeping my heart clean. I need God to do so.
Lately, I've been someone so dark and angry and hateful, that I don't even recognize myself. Road rage, judgement, and unrighteous anger against God's children. Yesterday, while driving home, I actually told God, "I can't believe you love all these jerks! People are a**holes!" And that's when I remembered I am to love my enemy, reflect His light, and grow His kingdom. With such darkness in my heart, there is no way I can accomplish what I've been created for. So I need God to clean my heart, because from the heart comes thoughts, from thoughts, words, and from words, actions.
Colossians 3:2 tells us, "set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." This is one step in cleansing my heart. This life is polluted. This life will scar everyone. It's always a choice on how we respond. If my mind is set on God and His mission, then I have the power of heaven to help me respond in a non-worldly way. If I set my mind on social media, headlines, or even office gossip, I am choosing to set my mind on earthly things. Satan will manipulate us any way he can. So, today if you have anger, angst, ill will toward others, know it is not of God your father. You know the feeling. It's a darkness that builds inside you, from your heart, elevates your blood pressure, and ruins what few breaths you have left. Pray boldly Psalm 51:10 out loud, and Satan will flee. This is a war zone, armor up!
Never in my lifetime did I see this as a thing. The entire world under quarantine due to a microscopic germ. People are losing their incomes, their health, and even their minds. Freaking out to the point of hording guns, food, and even toilet paper. This is evidence of a world without God. "Fear not" is the most common phrase in the Bible, and it's usually followed by the reason why, "for I am with you," or "God has found favor with you," or "have I not commanded you?" The anxiety we are feeling is a bold, tangible, lack of faith. While many are making light of the situation or focusing on the sun shining, some are sobbing at their desks. I recently read on social media where a friend was pointing out positive things, and one woman replied, "people are dying! There's nothing good!" I had to click away before diving down a rabbit hole of debate. News flash, people die every day. We all are going to die. So the question is, why are we letting the darkness engulf us? Have we not an omnipotent, omnipresent, being whose power is so great that his breath created galaxies, not to mention functioning human organs out of dirt? Let that set in.
In times like these perspective is key. Satan wants us to feel angst, he wants to steal our joys and our days. So here's the question, if you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today? Would you cherish every second and live large, or would you crawl under a blanket and sob for 24 hours?
Perhaps God is giving us time to rest, time to laugh, time to see value in trees and woodland paths, time to read and nap, time to actually cook healthy food, time to play, time to be. Be still and KNOW...
We are approaching the day of Jesus sweating blood. His fear was beyond what we are feeling, but picture this. The garden was dark, cold, damp, and a mist lingered. Jesus put his head down, shaking, sobbing, crying out for another way. Then you approach. He looks in your eyes, the sobbing stops and a determination sets in. He takes your hand, looks heavenward, and says, "Your will be done." This for you! This man suffered and died so you would not fear!!! He walked, literally walked, away from death, and yet we are afraid. What will it take for us to believe, down to our marrow what we profess? If a pandemic doesn't do it, I feel nothing will.
Today's challenge, seek supernatural peace. But be aware, your enemy doesn't want you to find it.
Anyone who has taken one of my classes will tell you how attached I am to this story. For those who haven't taken a class, here's a glimpse into my journey.
When I was in elementary school, we took a field trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts. I was in awe as to the details in skin, the colors of fruit, and the depth of painted architecture. What amazing talent! I even appreciated Picasso and his unique view of the world. But after walking through enormous, canvas covered walls, we turn a corner and there was a pile of large, dried, stuck together, paint brushes on the floor. The kind you paint the outside of a house with. I assumed there was some reconstruction going on and that they had yet to clean up, but years later, when I returned, they were still there. Art. A pile of dried paint brushes. Huh! Each time I returned I fell deeper into this piece. What was the artist trying to convey? Layers of life? Change? The colors of our journey? How many things come together to make one whole?
The truth is I will never know what the artist was saying, and therein lies the beauty of art. An expression of the soul that is so individual, yet so relatable to the masses. I love how God designed us each to see beauty differently. What you think is beautiful, I may not, but once you allow me to see it through your eyes I get a different appreciation for it. We were created to create by the greatest artist who ever existed. He designed us with the ability to create peace, create children, create music and dance and paintings. We are all artists, as we are made in His image.
Open your soul. Art is everything and everywhere. From the design of an aphid or auto, to the stunning, never exactly the same twice, sunset, art surrounds you every single minute. Your fingerprints, your garden, your home, your eyes, your thoughts, your words, your world...all art.
There are many official definitions of art, but I find this one most fitting: "the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance." The beauty of every object and every person is not a realm of ordinary significance. Process that for a moment. Slow down. Take time. Absorb the extraordinary beauty that surrounds you, and see what a spectacular masterpiece He has painted just for you. Or at minimum, stop and smell some roses.