Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Control Freak Part 1

Off and on throughout the years of my Christian walk, I have often wondered what it is that God wants me to do. You see, I'm a bit of a control freak. I like being in control. There - I admit it! The term "control freak" is generally considered a derogatory term. However, I have asked God to help me turn this around in my life in such a way that it is actually a positive thing. God is faithful, and He is continually showing me ways to do just that. I will be sharing these ways in a series of posts. I hope you will be encouraged and empowered as you see how God reveals to us how to be in control!

Let me begin the series with Hebrews 3:1

Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. (NIV)

Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, (ESV)

Notice that the NIV uses "fix your thoughts on Jesus", and the ESV uses "consider Jesus". I did a word search on the term "consider" (because it is also what the KJV uses, and most word studies use the KJV). Here is what I learned:

The Greek word for "consider" is katanoeo. This comes from two other Greek words: katah, which denotes intensity, and noieo, which means to exercise the mind; to think from up to down, to a conclusion. The full definition of katanoeo means to observe fully: - behold, consider, discover, perceive. (source: http://www.e-sword.net/)

I then looked up the definitions to behold, consider, discover and perceive, and it gave me a better understanding and appreciation for the Greek definition of katanoeo.

  • behold - to perceive by the visual faculty; see. To perceive through use of the mental faculty; comprehend.
  • consider - to think about carefully... to look at thoughtfully.
  • discover - to notice or learn, especially by making an effort.
  • perceive - to become aware of directly through any of the senses, especially sight or hearing. To achieve understanding of, apprehend.
(source: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/)

So, in order to be in control, I need to perceive through my mental faculty, think about carefully, especially by making an effort to achieve understanding of Jesus Christ! 1 Corinthians 2:16 tells us that we (believers in Christ) have the mind of Christ. This passage in Hebrews has a lot of meaning to me in that it encourages me (and all followers of Christ) to use our brains! We are not mindless robots, but we are "holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling", and we are to "fix our thoughts on Jesus". Controlling our minds is vital to a victorious spiritual life. There are multiple Scriptures that point to this truth, however, I will stop here for now.

So, my fellow control freaks, take heart! We are called to be in control - of our minds. Consider Jesus today, all day, and in the days to come.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Why does lettuce remind me of the Body of Christ?

Lettuce*
Lettuce "bolting"*

Lettuce going to seed*
Lettuce seed*


The above pictures show you what lettuce looks like when it is allowed to bolt and go to seed. I don't know if you can tell, but in the third photo the plant has many branches that are holding multiple flowers containing several seeds.

The other day I was outside working with some of the branches that I had cut off earlier this year. I was shaking out the branches to let the seeds fall out. I started thinking about how awesome it is that one plant produces so many seeds. Then it occurred to me that the Body of Christ is similar. We are ONE body with MANY members, just as the lettuce plant is ONE plant with MANY seeds. One plant has multiple stems branching out in different directions, all containing seeds. The Body of Christ has members branching out in different directions and hopefully not only containing the seed of the Gospel, but actually spreading that seed. Now, some of the seeds will fall onto good soil and grow into their own strong, healthy plant ready to produce more seed, and some seeds will, unfortunately, fall onto poor soil never to be seen from again. We can't always tell whether or not the soil is good, so we just need to go ahead and spread that seed anyway.

I don't know from year to year whether or not the seeds I plant in my garden will produce a bountiful harvest for my family, but it doesn't keep me from planting. Of course after planting, it's vital that I watch over the garden and tend to it so that it will flourish. I have to be diligent in keeping the pests away. I have to feed it with additional fertilizers (compost) so that it will grow strong and healthy. I have to pull out the weeds that want to take over and choke out the good stuff. I also have to water it faithfully and make sure it gets plenty of sun.

The spiritual analogies that I see simply from having a garden continually bless me! God is so good in His provision and His creation is beyond awesome. I only pray that I will take the things He shows me and put them into action. He has definitely been working on me in that area. It's not enough to be aware of God's truth, it must be acted upon!


*not my photos