By SHERYE S. GREEN
How to be resolute in a world gone mad
Although I don’t remember the specific date when I was saved, I vividly remember the immediate and profound impact that decision made on my life after asking Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior shortly before my 14th birthday. Coming to faith in Christ was undoubtedly a matter of faith, but it was also a conscious decision I made with my mind to bend the knee of my will, my thoughts, my hopes, my dreams and my affections to Jesus’ leadership.
Time and time again throughout the past 47 years, I’ve had to keep returning to that same secure posture of submission. Too often I looked up to find I was once again living life on my terms, standing on my wobbly legs of arrogance, self-determination and selfishness.
While reading through the gospel of Luke recently, I came upon a verse that had never before caught my eye: “And it came about when the days were approaching for His ascension, that He resolutely set His face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51, NASB).
The word resolutely seemed to jump off the page right into my heart. This adverb, which according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary means “with great effort or determination,” intimated to me that Jesus decided what to do based on love for and obedience to His Father, not based on His foreknowledge of what would occur once making the journey. This verse in Luke occurs perhaps a few days before Jesus enters Jerusalem for the last time.
The world is now almost 10 months into the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control reports that the first case occurred in December 2019 in a patient in Wuhan, China. One month later, the organization released a press report detailing the “first case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus … in the United States.” None of our lives has been the same since.
As if the threat from this deadly disease were not enough, it seems as if many in my beloved America have lost their collective minds, as more and more incidents of unrest and accounts of hate-filled speech have sprung up across the country. As Christians, what are we to do?
I believe we as believers can make a difference in this broken, hurting world by determining that we will let our lives be candles, as it were, shining God’s light and love out into the darkness around us. To do this, we must center our minds on God’s Word. Paul wrote to first-century Christians in the city of Philippi and encouraged them to focus their minds on thoughts that contained eight attributes — true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8, NASB).
Many days I find myself readily identifying with the words of 18th-century British pastor Robert Robinson: “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it / Prone to leave the God I love.” From the third stanza of the great hymn “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” these phrases remind me of my tendency to stray mentally from the Lord.
The Bible, God’s love letter penned to me and every other believer, contains the words that will anchor me securely to His path. Paul ends the verse in Philippians with this instruction: “Let your mind dwell on these things.” The Amplified version states it this way: “Center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart.” The word implant means “to fix or set securely or deeply.” By drinking deeply of scripture and meditating on what God has to say to us, we will set His anchor points deep within our souls.
Living life by faith in Christ involves employing our hearts, our emotions, and developing and exercising a resolute mind. When questioned by a Pharisaic skeptic about which was the greatest commandment, Jesus reminded the man of spiritual advice first given to the nation of Israel by God’s servant, Moses: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37, NASB).
In these troubled times, take heart that Jesus, too, faced difficult circumstances and made the decision to center His mind on God. He followed His Father with all He had — heart, soul, and mind. If Jesus did it, it must be possible. May He give each of us a resolute mind.
Sherye S. Green is a Jacksonian and a wife, mother and grandmother. Sherye and her husband, Mark, are members of First Baptist Jackson. She is also the author of Abandon Not My Soul and Tending the Garden of My Heart.