I love to read stories and blogs that inspire me to become a better person, to love my husband more, to follow Jesus at a deeper level, to learn truths that change something inside of me, to be a better friend, mom, human. Don't you?
This morning, while reading in Colossians, two sentences stuck out to me: "set your hearts on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God" and "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." It appears, we need to "set" (take action) our minds and hearts on things above, on things about God, on things that are good and right and holy. All around us, on tv, in books and magazines, and online, things of the earth shout for our attention, devotion, and, I'm sorry to say, lust. Inviting smiles, curvy bodies, and glistening bronzed skin lure us to the things of this earth. Sometimes, by accident. We glance at a billboard or magazine cover and, ugh, we see something we didn't intend to view. We read a few lines from a book or blog and, ouch, we wish we hadn't put those words in our thoughts. We overhear a conversation someone is having on their phone and, if you're like me, you sure wish you hadn't heard that.
To me, setting my mind on things above means it's time to clean house and change focus. I've got to clear out the clutter of things I've seen and heard and wipe my lenses so I can see things above more clearly. To read or work on the computer, I need reading glasses, and they get smudged so easily. Daily, I have to breathe on them and wipe them down so I can see the words in front of me. In the same way, mentally and spiritually, I must remove debris from my thoughts so I can better focus on the things of the Lord. Oh, I want to see Him better! I want to think more about the ways of heaven; less on the things of the earth. And yet, this is where I live, so while I'm here, I need to figure out how to set my mind and heart on things that will strengthen me and build others up.
Jesus was a storyteller. Every story or analogy he told pointed to deeper truths the listeners could ponder and chew on. Think of some of Jesus' stories and examples:
The Beatitudes. Salt and Light. Treasures. A Speck of Sawdust. Narrow Gate. Wise and Foolish Builders. The Harvest. Sparrows. A Kingdom Divided. Trees and Fruit. Parable of the Sower. Weeds. Mustard Seed. Yeast. Pearl. Net. Children. Lost Sheep. Workers. Fig Tree. Vineyard. Wedding. Marriage. Taxes. Signs. Talents. Virgins. Sheep and Goats.
Jesus loved to tell stories, and I think I know why. A story is something everyone can relate to. In the midst of the story, our minds pull us into the heart of the telling, and once there, we're open to becoming the hero or one of the characters who challenge us to do something. It's in the story, we experience the pain and love and stirring of that character's victories and losses. It's where we find a call to action.
Telling stories and experiences that touch hearts, encourage spiritual growth, and make us better people matters. It can even be life-changing. If we start by "setting" our eyes and hearts on things above, then we can write and share stories with our friends and family and neighbors that will make a difference.
Have you read something recently that inspired you? I so appreciate authors and writers who have a heart to bring about change and turn our hearts toward Jesus through their writing. That inspires me!