Journal Entry // January 25, 2021
For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”Matthew 16:23 ESV
This verse is an important reminder about having a good rhythm of spiritual disciplines in my life in order to develop and maintain this mindset of the things of God taking priority in all of life. The things of God are not just reserved for church functions of events or even personal times of spiritual commitment. The things of God should be my mindset. Having a good rhythm of spiritual discipline will help me stay engaged with the Lord on a more intimate level throughout the day. Setting your mind on godly things is a difficult and persistent discipline that needs attention and intention to keep my mind focused on Christ above all else at all times.
It is far too easy to be the man that looks at his face in the mirror, but then walks away and forgets what he looks like. We see that in this passage with Peter. Peter had just given the foundational statement that Jesus was the Christ, to which Jesus commended Peter for having received this from the Spirit. Then shortly after this, Peter rebukes Jesus for committing to a path that leads to his death on the cross. This is the double-minded thinking that plagues me at times. This continual battle for my heart and mind that seemingly stretches and pulls my attention away from the things of God. Worrying about the things of this world of the things of man continues to threaten to not only distract me away from God, but to actually be adversarial to God’s kingdom and purposes.
It is easy to live my life on cruise control spiritually. Maybe a better analogy is that it is easier to live my life driving on spiritual automatic. Much like driving a car with an automatic transmission, I can become comfortable with the ease and routine of life. Going along in my car just letting the gears of the engine change as they see fit. And why not, isn’t the car designed to automatically take care of itself and change gears when it is time. Spiritually, this is similar to my not prioritizing the things of God. I let the world dictate to me the time allowed for spiritual development. I will work to fit in spiritual disciplines to my life as time allows. But either consciously of subconsciously, I make these spiritual disciplines of a lower priority. I give the remaining scraps of the day to Jesus. Fitting him in when I “have time.”
This is not what Jesus requires of me. What is required is that I think of my life as a car with a manual transmission. If I do not actually put the car into the right gear at the right time, then the car will not run properly or at all. If I don’t take care and stay mindful of the continual need to change gears, then the car may stall or even break down. I see my life the same way. How often does my life stall out because I am not caring for my spiritual renewal? How often do I try to place myself into fourth gear, when I am actually needing to shift into second? I lose sight of the importance of caring for my relationship with Christ.
This mindset that Jesus calls me to is one that is singularly focused on him. All of life is but an opportunity to participate in the story of God. He gave me the privilege of being a reflection of his character and nature to this hurting and dying world around me. He wants me to have a deep and abiding relationship with him. A relationship that changes me from the inside and reforms my heart, mind, and soul. Developing a true delight within me for the Lord. Where everything about me radiates the love of Christ and this inward love for Christ requires me to live out his truth and character.
This takes time and effort. More than that, it takes intentional time and effort. It requires a “right sacrifice.” Not just fitting Christ into my life , but conforming my life to him. Giving up the things of this world and the supposed riches or pleasures it offers. And truly seeking the only thing of value in this life – Jesus.