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Devotion 26

Set Your Mind

After more than 40 years of the Christian walk, doing right is still not second nature to me. It takes vigilance.

In Colossians 3:1-3, Paul admonishes me:

"to seek those things which are above..." and

"to set (my) affections on things above the earth..."

James reaffirms the instructions in 5:8b when he says I should "establish (my) heart..."

Seek: to pursue, attempt to obtain

Set: to focus on

Establish: to make permanent

These are all active verbs, which require my participation.

In the first verse there is a cause and effect interaction: If you then be risen with Christ, (then) seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God."

What are those things above? I can make a list off the top of my head, and so can you. Take, for example, I Corinthians 13, Galatians 5:22-23, and Colossians 3:11-17.

They are wonderful verses when applied generally; applied personally, I find lots of room for improvement

Part of this is a matter of my will. Benjamin Franklin had his 13-week program for moral perfection. Do you remember studying it in American lit? He recommended working on one virtue per week and then starting all over again. I've tried it just as I have tried to put into practice the Scriptures listed above with some success — sometimes.

Recently I read a verse that got my attention. John 1:16 says this: "And his fullness (completeness) have we all received."

This concept of fullness was new. I always thought completeness was the goal. But this verse is in the present perfect tense: We have all already received completeness in Him and continue to have it.

I have been taught that my goal is to obtain completeness by fighting my weakness and by being victorious over it —leading to a lose/lose situation when I fail.

The weakness is a given.

The completeness is a given.

The key is in the balance. That, I believe, comes from the acceptance of the never-ending weakness of the flesh and the determination to fight it with the resources of the Spirit, given to me by Christ the instant I trusted Him as my Saviour.

Thus, I begin to understand that the battle is for a lifetime, that my will to fight it is necessary, but that the spirit, not the flesh, should supplement my will.

Philippians 4:13 says it all: I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me."

Know what that means? God is with me!

For Further Consideration:

I Corinthians 13; Galatians 5:22-23; Colossians 3:11-17

Hebrews 12:1-2

II Corinthians 12:9-10

Isaiah 40:28-31 (I have always thought of physical strength when I have read these verses, but now I believe that puts a limit on their potential for encouragement.)

Complete in Thee

Yes, justified! O blessed thought!

And sanctified! Salvation wrought!

Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,

And glorified, I too, shall be!


Complete in Thee! no work of mine

May take, dear Lord, the place of Thine;

Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,

And I am now complete in Thee.

Complete in Thee! no more shall sin,

Thy grace hath conquered, reign within;

Thy voice shall bid the tempter flee,

And I shall stand, complete in Thee.

Complete in Thee — each want supplied,

And no good thing to me denied;

Since Thou my portion, Lord, wilt be,

I ask no more, complete in Thee.

Dear Saviour! when before Thy bar

All tribes and tongues assembled are,

Among Thy chosen will I be,

At Thy right hand, complete in Thee.

Verses by Aaron R. Wolfe (1821-1902)

Refrain by James M. Gray (1851-1935

Music by Talmadge J. Bittikofer (b. 1892)


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