A few topics this morning. Mental strength, fasting and resisting temptation.
One of the things I want to take away from this study of Colossians is to memorize several key passages from the book... one verse per chapter is my goal. I picked this one from chapter 1.
"Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." - Colossians 1:12-14 ESV
I've decided that I'm going to start memorizing passages from the ESV also which is a big decision. We used the KJV in Bible school and in a way it means more work because I will have alternate versions in my head and will need to keep track of which is which but on the whole I think that the ESV is a more understandable translation.
This issue has made me think of the topic of mental toughness. We all need it. Even if we don't think we do now... we will wish we had it later in life.
"You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth. For if you will be careful to do all this commandment that I command you to do, loving the LORD your God, walking in all his ways, and holding fast to him," - Deuteronomy 11:18-22 ESV
"Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air." - 1 Corinthians 9:25-26 ESV
If there are times when we say, 'I am not going to eat on this day but instead I'm going to give the money I would have spent on eating to this cause and I will spend the day praying in my mind instead.' doesn't that do something in us? Haven't we imposed a certain kind of order on ourselves that will serve us in other situations? Then when temptations come (and they will) we are used to denying ourselves and can say 'No!' as a one word final answer. It won't be a drawn out internal discussion.
I see scripture memorization along those lines also. We don't do it to please God. God has been made glad by His Son. Our actions can not add to God's joy. We are hidden in Christ. But mental toughness can add to our life.
When I see Jesus in the Gospels I see someone very sharp. He was Spirit led but not haphazard. He wasn't some charismatic personality. He had substance, depth and endurance. Our association with Him make those things ours also if we will enter in.
So this morning I will repeat my passage again and again, word by word and try to say it without looking at the page. Breaking it down into parts and putting those pieces back together again. I am setting alerts on my phone that say things like...
'Hey genius... what is your chapter 1 passage?'
If I don't remember it all or get part of it wrong I won't condemn myself but I will 'exercise self-control' and look at the passage again and until I own it.
The Bible is a treasure and it can be ours.
God help us. Help us to be tough. Help us to be sharp. Make us gracious people who can say 'No.' and mean it because we have already said, 'Yes.' to you for areas of our life. Thank you Lord. We trust you. You are our praise.