Soaking It In
Sometimes I need to simply take an idea in. I need to let it soak into my bones.
How about you?
I am not terribly good at soaking in a hot tub. It always seems like a good idea, but then I get...well, too hot! Go figure; it's a hot tub.
I do better in the ocean or a pool. When I soak in the ocean or a pool, I can ponder ideas.
It is interesting for me to ponder the question of how ideas and beliefs deeply penetrate into me. How can I get what I know is true into me—so much so, that these true ideas affect my attitudes and behaviors?
One way is repetition. It is why we are encouraged to have daily routines, such as prayer and devotional reading of God’s Word. Stephen Covey captured the idea in his copyrighted habit of Sharpening the Saw.
Sharpening the Saw is a phrase that encourages us to take care of ourselves. We spend so much time straining and working and stressing. The reflection right before this one was long. I was back on my treadmill of wrestling with Law and Grace and Life—and so was the author of the letter we are reading.
Today, the tone shifts to encouragement, contentment, and joy.
I found the tone startling. After all, just one reflection earlier I was locked in a grappling match over my behavior. I was even grappling with grammar. Yikes!
So, what happened?
What happened is, as I was breaking down the text in an effort to not simply understand, but apply it, I ran out of steam and did not push through to the end of the text. The end of the text we were reading (verse 20) begins with “but”.
In verse 20, after all my wrestling, I read, “But our citizenship is in heaven…” here is the forward-looking vision that we await—to be with Jesus and our bodies transformed.
Once my mind goes to this point, I suddenly comprehend where joy and encouragement are breaking forth in the text. And I am left with something to soak in.
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. 9 What you have learned] and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Think about these things…and practice these things…and the God of peace will be with you.
I would like the God of peace to be with me. So I need to soak these verses in, even memorize them.
When you think of the God of peace being with you, what does that look like, especially in the struggles of life?