To Follow Jesus
My (Shayne McCusker) notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.
January/February 2015 Issue – ‘Prepared’
The text set for today’s reading and meditation (I’ve added the two proceeding verses, so as to give context to Paul’s first word in Chapter 4, ‘therefore’):
Philippians (3:20-21), 4:1-9 (NIV-UK): “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
A lot of good material in the above verses, the goal of all of us (whose names are written in the book of life) is to be with Jesus in heaven and to have a glorious body like His (3:21). Now, isn’t that one of the best thoughts?
Selwyn writes the following in today’s study: “Now that we have seen the first step on the road to self-discipline is a complete surrender to Jesus, we move on to ask: What are some of the major areas of our lives that need self-discipline? The first area is our thoughts.”
He goes on to point out to us that the reading we have for today, is one of the classic sections of the New Testament on self-discipline. We are instructed to bring our thoughts under control by focusing on the things that are true and good, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy.
I think this comment of his, is worth thinking about: “If you constantly think about things that are untrue, negative, wrong or impure, then the very disharmony of these things will invade you and pervade you.” The peace of the Lord, within you, will be under threat. Think of it, in this way, if our Lord is on the throne in your heart, why would you drag these types of negative thoughts in front of Him?
It requires discipline, an active decision on our part to focus on the blessings we have received from our Lord and to draw closer to Him, who is always near us.
Selwyn’s conclusion is directed at perhaps one of the dominating thoughts that is a problem for many, he says: “If sexual thoughts are a problem then don’t indulge them, for any delay can soon develop into the doing. Don’t try to dismiss such thoughts – that doesn’t (always) work: they are best dissolved and replaced by thoughts” concerning God’s goodness. “Direct your attention to Jesus. See Him in your imagination. To think on Him is to summon His aid.”
As I mentioned earlier in this post, imagine yourself standing in front of Jesus’ throne, and then start talking to Him about the wonderful gift He has given you, thanking Him and praising Him for what He has done for you on the cross. It will amaze you how quickly impure thoughts will evaporate, from your heart. Yet, it takes a deliberate action on your part to replace thoughts that are not of God, with ones that are an acceptable fragrance to Him.
What are your thoughts on this challenging topic?