Many things that are desired of a Christian require that we stay focused and always have the heavenly perspective. Take this idea of virtue or goodness – 2 Peter 1: 5. How does one add virtue to faith with all the evil that surrounds us in this world? It is obvious that to be anything close to what is requested of us, our minds must be completely removed from things that go on around us. Apostle Paul knew that our minds must be somewhere else for this to be possible. He said, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” – Colossians 3:2-3. There are several things we are already used to even before we found salvation. Our minds have already been taken over by the earthly perspective. The struggle to succeed, the rat race, the dog-eat-dog nature of success by-all-means-necessary predominate our perspectives. All these are earthly perspectives, but when we find God and are saved by our faith in Christ Jesus, something needs to change about us. Setting our minds on things above help us to always exhibit the heavenly perspective.
Apostle Paul told the Romans that they cannot be conformed to this world but must be transformed by the renewal of their minds (Romans 12:2). This is the same for us. Our minds must be transformed from the earthly perspective to the heavenly perspective. This is however easier said than done. How do we set our minds on things above so we can add virtue to our faith when we are challenged daily by the evil of this world? You see, when we are told to set our minds on things above, we must realize that we are not being asked to do a one-time thing and forget about it. We are being told to change the way we live permanently. We must cultivate a way of living that allows us to be set free from the things of this world that would seek to hold us back and keep us down. This we cannot do under our own strength.
The word of God says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” – Proverbs 3:5-6. There is no good desire we have that we can achieve under our own strength or from our own understanding. Many times, we know exactly what to do because the Word of God charts the course for us, but we do not understand how to because we lack the grace. Many other times we do not even know what to do because we find ourselves in the quandary of choosing between the desires of the flesh and the Word of God. However, when we submit fully to God, we will be able to surrender to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and He is able to help us. We make fruitless efforts when we try to control our lives by own strength. We must walk in the Spirit. We must allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit. When we are led by the Spirit with complete trust in God, we can set our minds on the things that are above, and our virtues will not be in doubt.
The idea of a heavenly perspective is something we must renew in our Spirits daily. We must make a conscious effort to add goodness to our faith on a daily basis. There is a lot going on in the world that can easily distract us. So, when we wake up daily, we must invite God to take dominion of all our activities that day and also ask that He helps us to keep all our perspectives that day on things above. We strengthen ourselves with God’s word and pray that He will take absolute control of our lives that day. This daily “giving it to the Lord” makes it easier for us to keep walking in the Spirit.
Finally, let us always guard our hearts. We must protect our hearts from the temptations of the evil one. The word of God says “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” – Proverbs 4:23. Being virtuous or being morally excellent begins with our heart. Every evil or good thought begins from our hearts. “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” – Luke 6:45. If we have evil in our thoughts, our mouths will voice them out. We must mind our tongues. A morally excellent person will not lie, will not backbite, will not swear needlessly, and will not boast. If we must be perfect as God is perfect, we cannot afford to exhibit any of these traits. Our lives depend on our choice to guard or protect our hearts from being taken over by evil thoughts. And even as we protect our hearts from the wrong things, we must make conscious efforts to fill our hearts up with the right things – the word and truth of God. When we do this, we can always maintain a heavenly perspective, our goodness shows forth, and our God is glorified.
March 21, 2021 – Pastor Simbo Odunaiya