Pastor Kevin Redding
Adult Ministries Pastor, Shiloh Community Church
It’s my turn to write a blog. Usually I don’t have any trouble with what to write, but over the past week and a half, I have struggled—struggled to know what to write and struggled to know the direction to pursue. I have tried to use the blogs I write as an opportunity to let the church into my life and my thinking. I’ve tried to show that I am just like everyone else—I struggle with everything in life, and I’m still in the process of “working out my salvation with fear and trembling.” However, it’s also my desire that throughout my writings, each person realizes that faith in Christ works—in fact, it’s the only thing that truly works in relation to all of the things we experience in this life. I strive to make my faith a reality throughout my entire life, not just when you see or hear me at church. So writing this one is different, although I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe it’s the relationally tough past few weeks.. Maybe it’s reading about the shooting at the small Baptist Church in Texas. Maybe it’s the reminder that marriages are on the brink. Maybe it’s the continual struggle I have with feelings of insecurity. Maybe it’s the frustration with social media. Maybe it’s not feeling affirmed when “words of affirmation” is my weakest “love language.” Maybe…maybe….maybe.
As I sat to write, the following came to my mind, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Can it be that simple? When my mind is struggling with a case of the “blahs,” can it be as simple as changing my thinking? When I am feeling insecure or inadequate or depressed, can help be a matter of thinking differently? Is this the “power of positive thinking” or something much, much more?
The answer is much more than positive thinking. In our humanity, and in our natural sinfulness, our minds gravitate towards our depravity, negativity, and our selfish ambitions. Through Jesus Christ, our minds can be changed. Through Jesus Christ, we can focus on the truth, things that are honorable, things that are just and pure and lovely, things that are commendable, excellent and worthy of praise. What a contrast to what I usually think about. What a contrast to what I see (and tend to post) on social and regular media. Yes, changing what we fill our minds with does make a difference. If I remember that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, then I realize that I have tremendous value. If I remember that God knew me before the foundation of the world, then I realize I’m not an accident. If I remember that Jesus died for my sins, then I realize that I am loved and I am lovable.
It all starts with the truth. We live in a world of relative truth…but that’s not a new thing. “Truth,” as the world defines it, has been changing since the Garden of Eden. Real, constant, unchanging Truth is found in God and His Word, period. Jesus prayed for His disciples, and subsequently for us, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17). Apart from God’s Word, and God’s Truth, I am helpless to follow through on the rest of the things I’m supposed to think about according to Philippians.
So the answer for my “blahs” is pretty simple. Get back to God’s Word and back to His Truth. Get back to thinking about the things I’m supposed to think about. Get back to thinking on “these things” and stop feeling sorry for myself. Get back to basics and to putting God first. Get back to aligning my mind and my heart with His. Get back to Him.