There are times when my life seems overwhelmed by busyness. From the mandatory things I have to accomplish to the discretionary things with self-imposed deadlines, my time and attention gets pulled in all sorts of directions. It can feel like I’m running down a steep hill, picking up speed and not able to slow down. My entire day becomes completely consumed with all the “things” I have to get done. History has proven that if I allow myself to function this way for extended periods my priorities slowly, almost imperceptibly, begin to shift. Then one day I wake up to realize that spending meaningful time with God has slipped from being my most treasured priority to a guilt-filled struggle. Guilt because I haven’t put Him first the way I know I should (the way I desire to), guilt because I know better, guilt because of my repeatedly broken promise, “I’ll be right there Lord…just as soon as I finish this one last thing.” When I finally do set aside time to sit quietly at His feet, my mind is continuously invaded by thoughts of all the things that remain undone. I am bombarded and derailed; trying desperately to fight my way back into the place where His presence brings peace, fulfillment and joy.
Surely this struggle is not unique to just me because in Romans 7:18-19 the Apostle Paul himself describes something similar when he says, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” So how do I stop sliding down this slippery slope? It’s actually pretty simple although it doesn’t always feel that way – I choose. I choose to take God at His word and then I choose to act on it. When my feelings tell me that God is tired of my repeated failures, Romans chapter 8 tells me that “there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” I do not have to be in bondage to my flesh. I can walk according to the Spirit by keeping my mind on things of the Spirit. Paul reiterates this again in Colossians 3:1-2, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” The mind is a powerful tool. With it I can make the choice to believe and obey, to set aside my deceptive feelings and focus on the things above where Christ is. No wonder Ephesians instructs us to put on the helmet of salvation. In the light of eternity, the importance of all those other competing “things” just fades away.