Keeping out the Cold
Read: Proverbs 4:20-27; Romans 12:1-2
I love the fall season. There's a beauty in the crunching of the leaves as I scoop them into my hands and into a bucket. There's a serenity in the chorus of birds that sing together in the big pine tree in the front yard. It sounds like a miniature rain forest right outside the window. There's a comfort in the way the sun shines in the office in the late afternoon, warming me and bringing a brightness that is absent other times of the year.
Strange isn't it, but this same sunshine that is so pleasant now comes from the same source that I close away during the hot days of summer.
There is one thing that truly comes with autumn. This is the season when my husband puts plastic over the small window in our work/play room. It used to be a garage; so, even though it is insulated, this room, just off the kitchen, needs extra help to keep out the cold. There's something comforting about having the plastic snugly in place over the window. It will remain, keeping out some of winter's chill, until spring returns, Genesis 8:20-22.
There's another kind of protecting that each of us who belongs to Jesus should do. To do it, we don't need plastic or a hair dryer. Its purpose isn't keeping out winter's cold; rather, its purpose is keeping out the deceptive thinking that surrounds us on every side. In Proverbs 4:23, we are told to guard our hearts. We need to watch over what we ponder, what we choose and how our emotions are leading us. A tall order, isn't it? For help, I love Romans 12:1-2 which reminds us Whose we are and what patterns we are not to copy. We belong to Jesus, and because of that, we are to choose God's point of view, attitudes that are like His and actions that are more and more like the One Who indwells us, 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
No matter how old we are, whether child or senior citizen, thinking in a manner that pleases the Lord is a process. The psalmist said that one way we keep the world's impurities out is to treasure God's Word in our hearts, Psalm 119:11. We know what treasuring looks like in other areas of life. Perhaps, when we come home from a special time away, we delight in thinking about a special conversation or a beautiful experience with someone we love. We mull it over. In Luke 2:19 and also in verse 51 of that same chapter, we see that Mary treasured up things she learned about Jesus. I wonder how many times during her life she guarded her thinking by reminding herself of what she had been told about her amazing Child? When she didn't understand, did she pull out the shepherds' words or Jesus' when He spoke concerning being about His Father's business?
In the scriptures, we learn and are reminded of God's amazing deeds. When we think about the wonderful things He has done, we delight in Him, Psalm 111:2. Is there a more wondrous act of God than His coming to earth to provide salvation because of His love for us, John 3:16? Truth to treasure. Sadly however, too often, my mind spins when I hear the boasts of those who don't yet belong to Jesus and show no desire to know Him. That is when I should treasure the scriptures that speak about Jesus, the Seeking Savior, Luke 19:10. That is the time to think about the prodigal son's welcome from the Father Who never stopped loving him, Luke 15:20-24. These treasures guard me from the coldness that can come in if my focus remains on those who rage against God, rather than on the One Who said that nothing is impossible, Matthew 19:25-26. In the scriptures, we are reminded that God is in charge of when difficulties begin and when they end. He had a specific time period in mind when He judged the world with a flood. Yet, at the right time, He began the process that dried up the waters, Genesis 8:1. When God brought discipline upon His children through Babylon, He told them that the consequences of their idolatry would last 70 years. It was He Who decreed the beginning and He Who decreed the end of their captivity in Babylon, Jeremiah 29:10.
Knowing these incidents should cause me to treasure the truth that all that goes on is under the watchful eye of the One Who has all control. It is true that we are bombarded with ideas that events are random. That idea is like an icy wind trying to penetrate my heart. If events were truly random, it would be like being on a runaway roller-coaster.
The opposite is true. God's ability is greater than what would be needed to keep billions of roller-coasters all in their proper places with none of them crashing.
A Promise To Treasure: Psalm 1:2-3 New Living Translation
2 But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. 3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.