Handling Adversity ~ DAY 71

Our thinking plays such a key part in our everyday life as a Christian.  It cannot be overstated that our thought life will single handedly determine our success or failure of handling adversity when it arrives in our lives.  We are taught by the apostle Paul in Philippians 4: 8-9 that the only way we can engage with the God of peace and experience the peace of God is through a disciplined thought life.  We need to be especially on alert about the direction and focus of our thinking when navigating pressure packed seasons of life.  Our minds can go in so many different directions and if left to ourselves we can begin to drown in our own thoughts and enter a very unhealthy place spiritually, emotionally, and physically. 

Jesus said to His followers in John 8:32, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  However, if we are not filling our minds with God’s truth, then the lies of the world, the flesh, and the devil (whom Jesus called “the father of lies”- John 8:44) will flood into our heads.  Our minds abhor a vacuum.  It will be filled with whatever we choose to think on so we must be very intentional and strategic as to what we are filling our minds with, and who, quite frankly, we are listening to.

Therefore, the writer of Hebrews here in Chapter twelve not only exhorts us to “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus”  (Hebrews 12:2).  We are also advised in Hebrews 12:3 to “think of Him.”  No one can miss the wisdom of this passage for the author is calling for the recipients of this letter (as well as us today) to be totally absorbed with Jesus.  This requires a turning away from those things that distract us and then a consciously focusing and meditating on Jesus.  Ideally if we are focusing on Jesus first, then we would be more motivated and empowered to turn away from distractions.  This is why it is a good practice for us as believers to regularly spend time in the gospels.  I usually focus on one of the four gospels every year for my own personal growth and benefit and if God leads, I share what God is teaching me to a wider audience. 

Let’s look at the word “think” for a moment.  It means to reckon, count up, or reason with thoroughness.  It conveys to think out with careful deliberation, consider accurately and distinctly or again and again.  The verb can also include the idea of meditation.  I realize that this is such an extended definition, but I want to convey that proper biblical thinking is far from a casual process.  It takes work.  It takes energy.  It takes effort.  It is a challenge to all of us.  Are we truly exercising our minds in the proper way?  Are we exerting ourselves at all to keep our minds and thoughts on the proper track?  Most importantly, are we taking, or should I say, making the time to fill our minds with all things Jesus?

At all times in life, but especially so during times of adversity, we must lock onto Jesus and not be distracted.  Think about Jesus right now.  Fill your mind with who He is and what He is doing.  Be so wrapped up in Jesus that your mind becomes insulated from those negative thoughts penetrating and abiding within.