A few weeks ago on a Sunday morning I shared the story of Elias Nour. In 1927, with a roped tied around his waste, he was lowered down the face of Stone Mountain to rescue a little boy who had fallen and become stranded on a ledge. Over the next 36 years, Elias rescued 36 people and 6 dogs. Then in 1963, the rescue missions suddenly stopped… not because he was no longer willing, but because he was no longer needed. Finally, someone wised up and decided that guarding the dangerous areas made way more sense than continual, life-threatening rescue missions. So, they built a fence around the top of the mountain!
There is a dangerous battle going on in our hearts and minds, but we so often don’t notice until we already fallen off of the cliff.
James, the brother of Jesus, says it this way…”What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?” (James 4:1, NLT)
How do we put up a fence around our soul? Listen again to what Paul says in his letter to the church at Philippi.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:6-9, NLT
There it is…“His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” His peace is the safeguard.
So how do we take hold of His peace? Paul says to fix our thoughts on the things of God, things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise.
What are you filling your mind with? Where are your thoughts fixated?
Over the next few days (and even weeks if need be), take the time to log an hourly journal, writing down the specific things that you have allowed to enter into your mind and your heart. What are you listening to? What are you watching? What are you reading? With whom are you having conversations and what are they about? Where do your thoughts go in your down time?
The next step is commitment. In the thought patterns that are true, honorable, etc., commit to fostering those and making them more intentional and stronger. In the thought patterns that are not modeled after Philippians 4:8, make a commitment to exchange the activities that cause those thoughts for something that is pure, lovely, etc. Let’s start building fences together as we ask the “God of peace to be with us.”