Saturday, June 27, 2015

Pastoral Pings ~ Better Things to Think About

          This morning, something stood out to me in one of those why-didn’t-I-see-that-already kind of ways. I was praying about the bad news filling cyberspace, and found my mind tempted by news stories to focus on how terrible the world is getting. Suddenly, I realized another measure of significance to God’s directive, “think about these things.”[1]
          With the ease by which we receive news of the ugliness perpetrated against humanity in general, and God’s children in particular, arriving from all around the world in varying degrees of interest and concern, it is easy to become caught up in debating every wrong statement, publicizing every wrong decision, or collaborating against every wrong movement. Before long, it is cyberspace that directs what we think about.
          God calls his children to think about things that are characteristic of light, rather than the characteristics of darkness. It is the nature of light to shine. It does not work at dissipating darkness, but simply expresses itself as what it is.
          Jesus told his brothers that the church is the light of the world. He said,

 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”[2]

          The identity of the church is, “you are the light of the world.” The work of the church is “let your light shine before others.” The means of doing this work is, “your good works.” The light of Christ shines in, through, and from, the church by the church doing the “good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”[3]
          Just prior to telling the church to think about what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy, God calls us to this high and noble expression of light shining in the darkness, “…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”[4]
          This verse covers how we can bring all the terrible world events to God in prayer, rejecting anxiety and distraction as the means by which we handle what is going on. With prayer, including presenting all our needs to God in supplication, immersed in a mindset of thanksgiving, we can present all our requests to God, asking him for specific applications of how his will could be done on earth as it is done in heaven.[5]
          However, once we have presented to God whatever is in our hearts, whatever troubles us, whatever causes us anger against Satan and his destruction of God’s creation, we then seek to live in this dark world as light shining in ever-darkening places. What God’s word said a long time ago is just as applicable a call to prayerful thought as ever: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.”[6]
          Jesus has come. He was the light shining in a dark place. He was the one who fulfilled the prophecy that, “the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”[7] He now sends his brothers into the dark world, not to let the darkness dictate what we think about, but to so fix our hearts and minds on him, and his excellent and praiseworthy thoughts, that all we want to do is arise and shine.
          If we begin our day in the word of God, prayerfully listening to what the Spirit is saying to the churches,[8] and then go to God with constant prayer, supplication, thanksgiving, and requests, we will have things on our minds that will direct us to think about what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
          Facebook, Youtube, and other social media will suggest all kinds of things to think about. Let’s make sure that our minds are free to “think about these things” God describes in his word. Since, “to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6), let’s be careful what we think about.

© 2015 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] Philippians 4:8
[2] Matthew 5:14-16
[3] Ephesians 2:10
[4] Philippians 4:6
[5] Matthew 6:10
[6] Isaiah 60:1
[7] Isaiah 9:2; Matthew 4:16
[8] A 7-times repeated expression in Revelation 2-3

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