Not long ago, I was having a conversation with a lady who was having a rough time at home. She and her husband were having problems adjusting to their recent adoption of a teenage girl, their first child, and stress was getting them down. My suggestion to this lady was that she “fix her thoughts on Jesus” as a means of finding solutions to her difficulties.
Her reaction was to politely tell me that she was hoping for something more helpful than that, like a list of things to do.
I recommended that she start with a “to do” list of one “to do”: Fix your thoughts on Jesus.
This is a common thing in daily life; in all of our lives, I would imagine, we expect “to do’s”. Jesus doesn’t really give assignments like that, and we, like His original listeners, find that a little hard to deal with.
Yesterday I spoke with a man who had a problem at home, one for which he has every right to be angry with his wife, but he told me that Jesus ruined it for him, because while he was very angry, he was thinking about how Jesus has forgiven him for so much in his own life… and his anger melted away. “Come on Lord, I am entitled to be mad!”
But the anger was gone.
The concept of fixing our thoughts on Jesus is expressed many times in Scripture, in various ways maybe, but it always amounts to the same thing, as a way to cope with the trials of this life. Sadly, I’m afraid, there really aren’t any complicated “to do” lists of “action steps”, just fix your thoughts on Jesus.
Oh yes, and as my friend found out yesterday, it works.
I guess it isn’t so easy to be mad at somebody when you are in the presence of God!