Daily Devotional - Focus Your Minds on Things Above
“Focus your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you...” (Colossians 3:2b-5a).
As a human race we really don’t like having to take orders. We want to do things our own way. Period. This propensity may in fact be the biggest struggle Jesus’ disciples have...to put to ‘death’ the natural earthly desires for power, independence and self-determination. We must resolve to focus on our counter-cultural, righteous ruler–Jesus Christ–to whom we owe our undivided allegiance for the new life we have been given through Him.
But too often we ‘forget’ who’s really in charge and we try to orchestrate circumstances to our own advantage. I have been reminded of this during my recent readings of the book of Numbers. The Israelites really were a cantankerous bunch. After more than a year of God’s miracles, Moses leadership and the installation of Aaron as high priest, Korah and his followers still weren’t convinced that the right people were in charge. As a result of their rebellion, thousands died–first the leaders of the rebellion when the earth swallowed them up and then through a plague that ravaged those who complained against the punishment the leadership hopefuls had received (Number 16). Their complaint against Moses and Aaron, was really directed higher up. They did not want to submit to God’s choices and wanted the power to do things their own way.
Immediately after these events, we read the story of how Aaron’s staff budded, produced flowers and almonds overnight (Numbers 17). It seems a strange miracle, but God was sick and tired of the Israelites constantly complaining against Moses and Aaron, as though they had decided to become the leaders of this traveling nation on their own. He determined to put an end to the constant play for power that was going on in the camp amongst each of the tribes’ various leaders. God instructed Moses to gather a staff from each of the leading members of the twelve tribes of Israel and to write their names on each leaving no room for doubt of ownership. He was then to lay each of these in the Tabernacle. By causing Aaron’s staff to become green again, produce leaves, blossoms and almonds overnight, while the other eleven staffs remained untouched, God sent a clear message. Like it or not, God had made His choice and His choice was for the tribe of Levi to serve in the Temple, and for Aaron and his sons to serve as priests and high priest. End of discussion.
How often do we try God’s patience in a similar fashion. God is not required to explain to us His plans–the how, who, when, what, where or why. The fact that God is the source of love, has good plans for us and is trustworthy should be enough for us; unfortunately, it is often not. Why? Because we resurrect the sinful ‘old man,’ rather than continually putting it and our earthly desires to death. The key to experiencing a life of purpose and fulfillment, is obedience and submission to the One who provides it. Jesus was very clear, “Then Jesus called the crowd to Him along with His disciples, and He told them, ‘If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and for the gospel will save it. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul’” (Mark 8:34-36)?
If we are determined to have our own way, to set our own course, to be the boss, God will not fight us. He respects and honours the free will with which He created humans; however, choose to do things your way and the consequences are clear–‘what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul.’ We have options, but only one choice is the way to God...
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!