A Ready Steady Mind
How to instantly deal with anything that fights against the soul
Come to me, all you who labour and are heavily burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matt 11)
As a teen trying to orient myself in the world I gained great resolve and comfort from a sermon titled ‘Ready For Anything’ by Alan Redpath. I found it on my Dad’s cassette shelf, and I would listen to it every day on the way to college. Based on Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, Alan tells us that it had been his life’s verse. This marvellous inspiration readies our minds for action, it keeps stress, fear and mental mental health problems under control. It brings God into our every day situations. Paul presents a similar thought in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day… For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
Whilst psychology often examines the past and rightly encourages us to deal with it by forgiving, and by asking for forgiveness, etc, it is the present moment where battles are fought and the future is forged. One other great truth is to be found in Romans 8:13-14: “…But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons.” This verse proposes a partnership between ourselves and God in dealing with negative or sinful thoughts and feelings. We intuit that God is at work in us as he brings to mind the things we need to deal with. We then take initiative, out of obedience, and hand those things over to God that we cannot control or replace ourselves. Matthew 15 tells us that we are meant to draw righteous attitudes from God himself and not conjure up right attitudes ourselves. Nor need we attempt to silence our fleshly abuse of our nature on our own. The death and resurrection of thoughts, desires and feelings can happen instantly, and without even using language. Once learned it can be an instant glance at God, a flicker of faith, and silent submission.
The 4 R’s – The New Life
This really works. I have experienced it and recommend doing it many times a day. Eventually it becomes second nature. Eventually the negative feelings disappear too and the new attitudes become part of our new nature. When bad feelings, fears, negative thoughts, or sinful temptation form somewhere in your soul think you yourself, then hand them over to to Jesus Christ to kill, trust the father to replace it with his attitude. First though submit so that you come in line with Gods heart.
Regard – observe motives, “Be on your guard (watch); stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. (1Cor 16, 13-14)
Resign – Submit to Gods will; come in line with his heart again.
Release – don’t hold on to it, let God destroy it. love God more that it.
Replace – trust Him to replace it with His own attitude by His spirit.
Bad thoughts are not necessarily sin, unless they are followed. We don’t need to be disturbed by anything that enters our mind; everything can be dealt with instantly. God wants us to have instant faith, and wants to answer our faith instantly. We thank God for answering before we see the answer. Often just asking for general help can be an excuse not to believe for specific blessing. “Ask and you will receive.”
“We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2Cor 10.5).
Jesus First Sermon. Matthew 5
The sermon on the mount can be used as a guide to getting our vision and motivation on track.
3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” We do not need to define inner poverty, we all know it when we feel it. In order to accept Christ’s unsearchable riches it helps to acknowledge our spiritual need (but not to dwell on it).
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Those who are dissatisfied with the pointlessness of life without God and who suffer are most likely to find God.. We were all made to commune with God and experience his love joy and peace.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” The meek do not prioritise their own honor, they realise their own worth but allow others to come first in honor and possessions. Defensiveness and stroppiness come from fear and they miss the truth that God defines who we are and that he will honor us one day.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. If we desire the best we will get it and all the lesser stuff as a bonus.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” We no longer look for faults, enjoy indignation or assume the worst about people.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” When we submit to God he gives us his own attitudes to live in us. We are all driven by our heart, so let’s make sure it is pure.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” This calls for an outward focus; while we still take care of our own needs, our mind is set on other people’s needs. “not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Phil2)
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” When we have real oppression we tend to forget our imagined oppression. Generally the world is not against us, unless we are confronting the enemy by being Christ like in our actions. Do not confuse bad relationships for persecution; sometimes it is worth standing our ground but be gentle and caring in intention. We do not always need to be right.
If Your Eye is Good
Matt 6:22 seems to be saying that your outlook on life can determine your character. How you see other people, yourself and God. We have a responsibility to look past the obvious suffering and unfairness around us and to see the best in people and in ourselves. God is still love. The darkness exists in order to shine light in it. If we see darkness in everyone and like to criticize then we have darkness in ourselves.
We are not responsible for changing anyone else, and we certainly cannot do it by seeing the worst in them. We need tell people their potential so they can rise to the challenge. Sometimes it is necessary to correct others, but this must be done humbly without self pity, self righteousness, or aggression.
Keep your heart with all vigilance; for from it flow the springs of life. (Prov 4:23)
developing a healthy heart ad mind and overcoming depression and other neurosis the Christian way