If our health and peace depend on following Jesus as a sheep follows a shepherd — and they do — how often should we look up to see where he is?
Once a week? (You mean every week?!)
Once a day? (Some days are pretty long!)
More often than that?
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:1–2)
Do you suppose Paul intended us to set our hearts and minds on Christ once in our life — as if that would be enough? My heart needs to be re-set pretty frequently. More than daily.
Sheep look to the shepherd whenever the shepherd moves, and so should we. Wouldn’t it be good to raise our heads from the green pasture or quiet waters every now and then just to see if we’ve gotten too comfortable and missed his call to move us along? And to make sure we are staying close to him when the valley shadows darken?
Frank Laubach was a missionary in the Philippines who had a love for God and for people. His joy was to turn his heart and mind to God as often as he could think of it. Laubach advised:
All during the day, in the chinks of time between the things we find ourselves obliged to do, there are the moments when our minds ask: “What next?” In these chinks of time, ask Him: “Lord, think Thy thoughts in my mind. What is on Thy mind for me to do now?” When we ask Christ, “What next?” we tune in and give Him a chance to pour His ideas through our enkindled imagination. If we persist, it becomes a habit. https://www.christianhistoryinstitute.org/it-happened-today/2/26/
Try it! The Wednesday night group that is studying the Soul Keeping book by John Ortberg is trying it this week. I think you’ll find it easier to understand what God intends to do through you as you practice this. And you may experience his presence in the process, which is a gift in itself.
What next, Lord?
Pastor Mark loves his wife and grown children, the Word of God, and words. And coffee,
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6–7)
Christchurch Evangelical Covenant • 1900 Congress Street • Portland, Maine 04102 • 207-775-1900 • firstname.lastname@example.org