Some Brief Wisdom Regarding "THIS ONE THING I DO!" and the Mind Controlled by the Spirit
Beyond any question or debate, JESUS was “single minded.” He pressed resolutely towards Jerusalem, and His Destiny. When called to divert His course or be sidetracked, He was clear:
“My time has not yet come. For you, any time is right.”
“Not my will, but YOURS be done.”
Paul, tracing the footsteps of his Master, was very, very focused as well:
“I buffet my body daily.”
“This ONE thing I do.”
“Run your race in such a way as to win.”
“I’m in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.”
“I wrestle with all of Heaven’s energy to present each of you perfect and complete in Christ.”
“I’ve fought the good fight.”
“Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day.”
“You are witnesses, as is God Himself, of how holy, righteous, and blameless we were among you who believe.”
Jesus was RESOLUTE and unambiguous in what He was about, and where His energy and risk would lie.
Paul was focused and sacrificial, not letting his attention and energy drift into meaningless and temporal matters.
There truly is a “way to think” that will bring us closer to Jesus and His Purposes for our lives—and a way to think and act that will dilute our existence into meaninglessness. There is a way to live and allow our brains to function that will rob our hearts of passion and clarity. This way, which comes very natural to us and must be fought, will rot our Fruit as it still dangles on the branch. Our choice as to how we will “think” through our days will either inebriate us into a perilous delusion and self-satisfaction, disConnected from the Head and Body and our true Purpose—or that faulty thinking and living will eventually spiral us into sempiternal misery.
What follows are the words of the trainer of large numbers of world class athletes and record holders, in a number of different sports and temporal pursuits. His observation of humans’ predilection to devalue their existence and potential, or how they might instead move towards tapping into their full potential, is revealing. He has simply observed that “gravity” is not only for God’s Children, but for all of God’s Creation—saved and unsaved. The Principles of Life, applied even to unregenerate life, are observable. Recall in Genesis 11 that God had to INTERVENE to stop man from using His Principles for their own selfish accomplishments. Man, created in Father’s Image, using His Principles, is clearly capable of astounding accomplishments.
How much more might His Children understand His Ways and Principles and live for HIS Glory and His Purposes—rather than their own?
Consider how REMAINING FOCUSED on “THIS ONE THING I DO” can change your life, and bring Jesus great pleasure. Notice, with Spiritual application (rather than Olympic swimming, or javelin, or business world applications), how we can remain clear and applied to the NOW and not allow competing thoughts, diversions, and temptations to be self-absorbed to take us away from loving Him and serving Him and His People, and thus miss our Destiny and Purpose for being here. I’ll allow you to draw from the thoughts below, written by a man merely once-born, and make the application to THINGS THAT MATTER!
The average person has approximately 2000 daily thoughts. These thoughts average approximately fourteen seconds in length with many occurring only a second or more with the maximum thought lasting one to two minutes. You can think either in the future, present or past. Your thoughts are productive, or destructive—never “just neutral” or “just observing the facts.” These chosen or accepted thoughts cannot be both productive and destructive at the same time. Each thought produces a physical, emotional and/or intuitive reaction. It is this reaction that facilitates change. Therefore, thoughts are actions that spawn reactions and consequently results. We become, based on the quality of our thoughts.
The world champion, by choice, actually thinks fewer thoughts, cultivating only the productive. The daily thoughts of a champion are considerably less than an average undisciplined and drifting person—approximately 1100-1400. Champions don’t allow their minds to race to useless places. They have chosen to eliminate jealousy, gossip, rumor, hearsay, embarrassment, guilt, impatience, worry, anxiety and doubt. All thoughts are productive towards the chosen end and attuned to the objectives from which he will not be dissuaded. A small percentage of thoughts are devoted to the future and the past where preparation and evaluation occur. The majority of thoughts are spent in the present tense.
Every champion has a crystal clear vision in his primary Arena. This vision drives all thoughts. The vision is broken into practical areas of feedback and into practical stepping stones towards his objective. Once the future course is set, the champion accepts the outcome in his or her mind only as it will be. He is disciplined and focused. This champion’s intensity is balanced with a relaxed demeanor especially when confronted with adversity. Lastly, passion and enjoyment fuels every move until the vision becomes reality. By setting the future course, the champion can perform in the present tense.
Now, I will grant you that this above is written from a totally worldly and self-serving, self-aggrandizing perspective. And yet notice God’s Ordained Plan for our choice of thoughts:
Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised as he was. Our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also share his new life. We are sure of this because Christ rose from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. He died once to defeat sin, and now he lives for the glory of God.
So you should consider yourselves dead to sin and able to live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus. Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to its lustful desires. Do not let any part of your body become a tool of wickedness, to be used for sinning. Instead, give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life. And use your whole body as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you are no longer subject to the law, which enslaves you to sin. Instead, you are free by God’s grace.
So since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does this mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don’t you realize that whatever you choose to obey becomes your master? You can choose sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God and receive his approval. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you have obeyed with all your heart the new teaching God has given you. Now you are free from sin, your old master, and you have become slaves to your new master, righteousness.
I speak this way, using the illustration of slaves and masters, because it is easy to understand. Before, you let yourselves be slaves of impurity and lawlessness. Now you must choose to be slaves of righteousness so that you will become holy. In those days, when you were slaves of sin, you weren’t concerned with doing what was right. And what was the result? It was not good, since now you are ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom.6:5-23).
We understand that our minds, our emotions, and our bodies are to be SOLDIERS, under the Leadership of Jesus Christ, the Captain of the Lord’s Hosts. We have oversight of some of the Master’s soldiers. Our minds are soldiers, waiting for orders, and are to obey. Stray and wandering thoughts are AWOL, and this must not happen. We are serving a Glorious Commander, Full of Light and Love and Liberty—and He deserves our full attention and every thought “taken captive” for Him and by Him. Left on their own, the soldiers will “seize command” and our lives will reflect this dishonoring chaos. (Most choose this path, unfortunately. Some hyper-spiritualize it, while others simply ignore His ways. “But we think better things, in your case!”) Offer the parts of your life as instruments, as soldiers, for Jesus’ service alone. He is worthy!
Our emotions are soldiers, waiting for orders; they must be trained. Emotions of “depression” or “loneliness” or “passionate ambition” or “wanderlust” or any such thing must be taken captive! The soldiers of “emotions” are to be trained and brought into good working order, and under rapid and crisp Command of the Spirit of Christ. They must not be permitted to take control. Our emotions are only soldiers, to be under the Direction of Jesus Christ, alone. They belong to Jesus! OFFER your thoughts, and your emotions to Jesus—as good soldiers, loyal and dedicated to their Master. No straying, no sloppiness or contempt for His authority and leadership!
In addition, we offer the parts of our bodies as instruments of Righteousness. Our hearing, our seeing, our eating, our habits, our time, our bodies: ALL ARE SOLDIERS FOR JESUS’ SERVICE. Permit no insubordination amongst the soldiers (your thoughts, your emotions, your will, your body). Train them. “Buffet your body daily, and make it your slave.” Train your mind, and your will, and your emotions, and your body by the fruit of the Spirit, self-control and “constant use” for Him (Hebrews 5). Present to Him a well-trained offering of your gratitude for what He has done for you. He has entrusted these soldiers to your under-leadership! All are His—from Him, and through Him, and to Him. Let’s bring them into submission, by His Spirit, and for His Honor and Glory, as a gift of love and devotion and loyalty!
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies” (Php.4:8-9).