HEART & SOUL: KEEP YOUR HEAD IN THE CLOUDS
Contrary to a popularly held belief, living for Jesus isn’t always easy. We love when the Bible tells us that God will make “our paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6) or that He works “all things for our good” (Romans 8:28). But that doesn’t mean seemingly “bad” things won’t happen. Ask Paul and Silas. They were thrown in prison after commanding an unclean spirit to come out of a woman who was used for entertainment (Acts 16:23). Talk about a bad situation! Their response in verse 25 ought to inspire us. We are provided with a wonderful example of what it looks like to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.
After examining the heart last week, this week we investigated the aspects and effects of following the Lord with all of our soul, even during trials. The soul is made up of our mind, will and emotions. Every single day we are faced with a battle with all three.
Battling our will requires a conscious decision. Paul and Silas were certainly faced with a decision: do we sulk because God is being mean to us, do we simply pay our time in prison and get out unscathed, or do we take advantage of the opportunity to praise God in the midst of our bad situation? Thankfully they chose the latter! Because of their mindful decision to praise God in the midst of their storm, it permeated into their emotion.
After Paul and Silas made the decision to start signing to and praising God, around midnight something happened. The Bible says in verse 26 that the prison experienced an earthquake and all the prisoners’ chains fell off! I don’t know about you, but I know my emotions would have beaten me by the time midnight came. I would have been doing everything BUT praising God at that point! However, the drama that they were experiencing didn’t break them. In fact, winning the battle over their emotions lead to breakthrough for ALL of the prisoners. The very thing that we just thought was bad for Paul and Silas was the very same thing God used for the good of those around them. What a testimony! Let us never miss an opportunity to praise God in spite of our circumstances. It just might be the thing that provides breakthrough for someone else.
At this point, the battle for their mind seems easy to us. God had just won them a major victory. They escaped prison AND the jailer made the decision to follow Jesus! Talk about walking with confidence in the Holy Spirit! However, being dedicated to the battle within their own mind must have started long before this event. We are challenged with transforming of our minds (Romans 12:2). But wait a second, we have to change the very way we think? Thank the Lord Jesus that we are a new creation when His Holy Spirit comes inside of us! Our Helper walks with us as we dedicate ourselves to battling the very way we think about the world and our situation. Because of the daily dedication Paul and Silas put towards their minds, their will and emotion followed.
Notice the cycle. Their dedicated mindset leads to a decision of the will, leading to a dramatic emotional outcome, which only strengthens their dedication to thinking! But it all starts with thoughts. We at My City Church encourage you to counteract the Enemy’s lies with the thoughts God has for you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are made in His image. You are washed clean. You are justified. You are a new creation. You have the mind of Christ. Let us keep our heads in the clouds.