“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
“We must cease striving and trust God to provide what He thinks is best and in whatever time He chooses to make it available. But this kind of trusting doesn’t come naturally. It’s a spiritual crisis of the will in which we must choose to exercise faith.” Charles R. Swindoll
- Today the invitation from the Holy Spirit is to allow Him to lovingly and perfectly reset your focus. What are the things that have taken up residence in your mind and spirit that are taking your focus away from Jesus?
- Open your Bible and read these verses: Joshua 24:15, Mark 8:34, Exodus 20:3, Matthew 6:24. What do these verses tell you about how God intended our relationship with Him to be?
- Remember to call your prayer partner.
As moms, we live in a highly pressured, value-polarized world. The pace, the pressure, and the problems modern families face on a daily basis are creating very real health issues for parents and children alike. At every age, our minds and hearts are being seduced to follow this, pay attention to that, emulate so-and-so, and accumulate such-and-such. It’s no wonder that we drop in bed exhausted, but even then we have trouble sleeping.
Simply speaking, our hearts are divided. We want to follow God and His best for us, but the reality of living in this world while living for God and His kingdom is difficult. The result is our lives are filled with anxiety. We commonly feel guilty that we aren’t doing enough or that we have indulged too much. Does this kind of tension sound even remotely familiar? If it does, you are not alone. Not only that, our heavenly Father told us this would be our condition. Time and time again God tells us the allegiance of our hearts will be a battlefield.
As we read Scripture, we see a common thread in the message that Jesus taught: “Follow me and no other.” Jesus wants our whole hearts—all our attention, affection, allegiances—and in giving such, we receive all of Him and His kingdom.
Yet a look at the modern Christian family has us chasing after all this world offers—and we want a little bit of Jesus too because that’s good, right? We see it in our children, and we see it in ourselves. We want the “Jesus Plus” version. The version that will allow us to have our Jesus-cake and eat it too. Yet the problem with this is that God has always said we must choose. Re-read these verses again to see what I’m talking about:
- Joshua 24:15
- Mark 8:34
- Exodus 20:3
- Matthew 6:24
You may not consider yourself a “double-minded” person, but have you ever tried pleasing differing viewpoints? When we try to please differing value systems, we are in essence indulging ourselves by trying to play in two competing arenas. We cannot win.
If you have parented for any amount of time, you know the feeling of being watched, judged, and questioned. Let’s face it, parenting is tough, but it’s even tougher when we are trying to please multiple voices in our heads. And at the root of a being double-minded is the need to have it all—to have and please the world and God at the same time. Our spiritual lives are similar. We find ourselves (and our children do too) entertaining and trying to appease multiple voices of success, beauty, and popularity. We are constantly in a tug-of-war of competing values and desires.
Jesus offers a remedy for the self-absorbed individual, beginning in Matthew 6:25. He said, “Therefore”—because you cannot please both God and this world’s system—“do not worry.” Really? The remedy for living in a high- stressed world focused on self is to not worry? It sounds too simplistic. But in actuality, the root of the word translated as “worry” here means to be fractured, pulled in two directions, or even cut into pieces. I think most of us can relate to these words. It’s the duplicity of our hearts and minds that breeds anxiety. It occurs when we aren’t focused. There is a double-mindedness in us because our hearts truly desire both. We desire both God and this world. We love to indulge our lives with things like shopping, food, privileges, money, respect, popularity, addictive substances, or sex.
When we choose to follow Jesus, we have to live this life we have chosen on His terms and with His conditions. We either choose to indulge ourselves and our desires, which brings the companion of anxiety, or we choose Jesus. One thing I have found to be true is that it’s not very easy to live for a kingdom without knowing the King. When we choose the King, we must know Him in order to choose the way He wants us to live.
Blessings and Love,
Dr. Michelle Anthony
Questions to Ponder
- Think of a few words to describe your life and the life of your family right now. Are these words filled with anxiety and stress or peace and contentment?
- In what ways have you become distracted by pleasing the people and the systems of this world, and in doing so have lost your focus on Jesus and His kingdom?
- In what areas have you allowed yourself to feel “entitled” to be self-indulgent in what the world is offering you? Why? What pain might you be trying to mask or numb? Take time to confess this to your heavenly Father now and ask for His healing and grace.
We know that God’s Word RENEWS our minds. Set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier than you normally do to begin your day in the Bible. Maybe use an online devotional such as “Jesus Calling” or something that gives you a short devotional thought and Scripture to align your mind and fix your eyes on Jesus.
Choose this day, whom you will serve. As you serve Jesus, He alone will bring peace that surpasses understanding to your heart and mind.