I've been haunted by the rage I had rise up in me the other evening. Not because I fear being human, or because I feel I should somehow be exempt from the influences of my flesh - but because that reaction was so completely devoid of the influence of Christ. It is easy to shine with Christlikeness when life is calm and going my way. But we are to persevere - through trial and hardship - and I am haunted by the realization that it took so little trial to cause me to crack. An olive is pressed, or crushed to release its contents - oil. When pressed, I'm supposed to release something much different than rage - that is supposed to be when my greatest witness to the eyes of the lost occurs. They are supposed to be so amazed at the peace and joy emanating from my response to trial that they want what I'm having. Right?
My quiet time this morning brought me to Colossians 3. Somehow my previous studies of this chapter did not point so clearly to HOW to put aside anger, HOW to lay aside old self, HOW to put on the new self... How can the peace of Christ rule in my heart when my mind is arguing some lousy driver's right to consume oxygen? Well... I found a clue. I was driving to an early morning appointment when this morning's reading came back to me. Col 3:2 starts with "Set your mind on the things above..." Hmmmm... I found a definition of this at StudyLight.org. To "direct one's mind to, to seek, to strive for." So I should begin by actively seeking and striving to fill my mind with thoughts of "things above." Um, but that's what I thought I was doing - and it didn't "work".... I usually have my mind occupied with thoughts of my Lord, I find Him captivating and an endless source of wonderful consideration. But I found a degree of "active process" in the word study that I've not previously considered. By "having my mind occupied with" thoughts of the Lord, I am being passive, undisciplined - thoughts come... thoughts go.... I should instead seek to actively APPLY the LOVE evidenced in what inspires those thoughts to the circumstances, people, conditions around me. Actively directing my mind in Christlikeness, instead of passively meandering through the thoughts of the day, the drive, whatever... will do far more to renew my mind and enable me to "put on love..." and "let the peace of Christ rule..." than just having my mind occupied with pleasant thoughts. When pressed... crushed... I want the contents I spew to be glorifying to the One who gave His life for me. I don't want the love I "put on" to be a "put-on"... that falls apart when the pressing begins. How do you put on love... how do you let the peace of Christ RULE in YOUR hearts?