I’ve spent some time this morning pondering this tiny little word – IN. It seemed to pop up from the page specifically as a focus for today. My reading this morning was Philippians 2:1-11.
I am fascinated daily by Holy Spirit and His intention to highlight a specific word, even the tiniest, or an idea, even the most routine in His never-ending pursuit of my heart and mind. I ushered in the morning quiet by reading through Romans 12:1-2. The words that caught my attention were these in verse 2, “…but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…”
That’s me! That’s what I need. I need a renewal of my mind. In fact, it occurred to me as I read these words this morning that most of the conversations I’ve enjoyed with friends lately have included these words from my mouth. I’m declaring it openly. My mind is tired. I recognize that my thoughts are often fractured. My thought processes are cluttered, and I find it difficult to concentrate well on the words of another. These realizations are disturbing to me.
So, what do I know to be true?
The first step is to admit I have a problem. I’m doing that today. I’ve been doing that amongst family and friends.
“I need a renewal of my mind.”
“Houston, we have a problem!” When the astronauts of Apollo 13 made this declaration from space, the engineers got ready to listen. On earth, at NASA, the notepads were out and the pencils poised to take notes as the problem was spelled out and then based on what they knew to be true, they went to work to find a solution.
This is what I did this morning. I got out my journal and 3 different color pens. I turned in my Bible from Romans 12 over to Philippians where I’ve been camped out for a few weeks. No accident, my eyes fell on the words of Philippians 2:1-11.
As I read, I wrote in my journal the concepts I wanted to remember for today. And that’s when it happened. The word IN just continued to pop up off the page – over and over and over again. Finally, I asked Holy Spirit the question, “What do you want me to know about this tiny little word, IN?”
Here are just a few of the ideas He highlighted to my fractured mind as I pondered:
So if there is any encouragement in Christ
- It is true, encouragement is mine because I am IN Christ
any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy
- I get to participate IN the Spirit of God and I get to be comforted by His love
- As I participate IN the Spirit I get to operate out of affection and sympathy for others
complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
- JOY is created by living IN full accord and one mind with Christ IN His Spirit
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.
- IN humility count others more significant… humility is a fruit of the Spirit, which grows out of being rooted IN Christ
which is yours in Christ Jesus
- This mindset of putting others before me and putting away selfishness is mine IN Christ. I have it because He has me.
though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
- God isn’t the kind of Father who demands that we just do as He says because He said so. He is a teacher who desires relationship. He wants us to know His heart and that His precepts are good for us.
- Jesus was willing to step out of heaven and come to us IN the likeness and IN the body, flesh and blood, of a man so that we could see Him live this out for us.
- Jesus is our living example and because He lives IN obedience to the Father, surely it is good for me to live IN obedience to the Father.
- How grateful I am today as I remember that I am the one who was guilty of treason against God, having rejected His authority as Creator and King. Yet, Jesus took my death sentence as a criminal upon a cross and let me go free. Grateful!
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
- I don’t know about you, but there is something very secure about the idea of being IN heaven rather than on earth or under the earth. Something that is IN is secure, attached, and fastened. IN is included, a part of the whole, and provokes in me a sense of belonging.
- on earth makes me think of papers sitting on a desk and when the wind blows through sends those papers flying.
- under the earth causes me to wince at the thought of being crushed, oppressed, imprisoned and denied access.
Thankful I am as I sit now with these ponderings freshly inked upon the notepad of my mind. Even as there are still problems to be solved, I have hope in the promises of God. My mind is renewed by God’s Spirit and IN His Word. I am not without hope. Nor is my fractured thinking beyond healing.
Thank You, Holy Spirit, for highlighting this small word IN. Thank You for teaching me to rely on You as the source of all truth, and for renewing my mind IN Christ. Thank You, Father, for being God and reminding me I am not! Thank You for reminding me that all the pressure to perform is on You and not on me.
I am grateful to You that You called me by name and I am yours. Thank You for sealing my heart, Holy Spirit, so that I am not lost and without hope. And thank You, Jesus, for caring so much about Your creation that You willingly came to look like us, live like us, and be an example for us as our older Brother.
Eyes on You, Jesus… I want to shine IN Your radiance today!