Don’t turn your brain off

Ever get home after a long day and sit down in front of the television and zone out? I think everybody has. I know I have, especially on those grueling days when my brain is desperately tired. Giving it a rest is probably good for it.

But have you noticed that the things on television are skewing more and more toward stupid? I don’t really watch much television, honestly, mostly because I just can’t stand the drivel that’s on it. A good percentage of it is trash. Not even good storytelling.

Granted, then you have brilliant shows like Sherlock or Broadchurch or Downton Abbey or Doctor Who that challenge your thinking and feed your wit. (Is it coincidence they’re all British?) Regardless of whether you watch television (British or otherwise) or read books, there’s a difference between letting your mind rest and allowing your mind to be dull.

TV Remote Isolated on White.Today’s verse is 1 Peter 1:13.

So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.

How do you prepare your mind for action? What does that even mean? To me, that means making sure you are healthy, so that you can think well. But it also means that your thinking needs to be straight, and that only happens when you align your thinking with what God says.

We don’t have the Bible so that it can act as a paperweight. We don’t have the Bible so we can club people with it. We have the Bible so we can read it, so we can hear God’s Word, so we can learn how to live, so we can know what is right and what is wrong and what God expects of us.

But how can you know what it says if you never open it? If you never read it, you’ll never know what God wants to tell you. Now, it’s true, you can hear God’s word from other people. From your church. From your pastor. From your friends. But God wants to speak to you directly, and He will through the pages of the Bible.

But it’s so much easier just to live life being told what to do, isn’t it? You don’t have to think. You don’t have to reason. You don’t have to choose. But what kind of life is that? It’s not meaningful, I’ll say that much.

Part of preparing your mind for action is taking responsibility for the way you live, for the choices you make, and to do that, you have to understand your options. You have to know what God says is right and what God says is wrong.

So don’t zone out. Don’t let your mind get dull. Get ready for action. Following Christ is an adventure like no other, and you don’t want to miss out because you weren’t paying attention.

Keep your lenses clean

Does anybody wear glasses out there? I do. I used to wear contacts and I got tired of poking my fingers in my eyes every morning and night. So I switched to glasses and I still like them. What fascinates me with glasses is how dirty the lenses can get. Even if you clean them, five minutes later they have some kind of smudge on them. Having smudged up glasses tends to make people look at you funny, I’ve noticed.

I’ve noticed that because I’m terrible at keeping my glasses clean. They’re always smudged or dusty or spattered and I have no idea how to keep them from getting that way because I don’t know how it happens. So I am in the habit of cleaning my lenses with the hem of my shirt . . . which probably hurts the lenses but it gets the spots off them so people don’t look at me like I’m an uber-nerd who lives in my parents’ basement . . . . even though I basically am.

The other thing that happens when you have dirty glasses is that people appear distorted. All it takes is an oily fingerprint on your lens and it makes you wonder what happened to your coworker’s makeup. In actuality, your coworker looks perfectly fine; it’s your glasses that are the problem.

It’s funny how your focus can alter everything in your life. Whatever you focus on determines how you will react to problems and circumstances and situations you don’t expect.

If you focus on how little money you make, you’ll be selfish. If you focus on a lack of privileges, you’ll try to get away with the least possible amount of work. If you focus on uncertainty, you’ll never do anything courageous. If (and maybe this is just me) you focus on the foods you can’t eat, you’ll eat them all the time.

Your focus determines a lot about how you live your life.

The verse for this morning is 1 Peter 1:13, and coming from Peter it’s quite a doozy:

 13 So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.

That particular line, “Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you” is really what caught my heart this morning.

How many of us are looking forward to our next raise? How many of us are looking forward to a vacation? How many of us are looking forward to the next day when it’s admissable to eat foods that make us tired and cranky so we can have a chocolate bar? (that may just be me again . . . lol)

As believers, we need to look forward to Christ’s return. We need to keep our focus on living like Jesus did and enjoying the awesome benefits of being a member of God’s family. Can’t you imagine how wonderful it will be when Jesus comes back? At NewSpring’s First Wednesday service last night, we sang the song, “You Hold Me Now.”

No weeping
No hurt or pain
No suffering
You hold me now
You hold me now
No darkness
No sick or lame
No hiding
You hold me now
You hold me now

That’s what it will be. Can you imagine a world like that? A life like that? Knowing that such a beautiful existence is waiting for us on the other side of this dark broken world makes a lot of what we’re going through now totally worth it. Where we don’t have to endure suffering or hardship or pain or suffering or darkness or sickness. And where Jesus will be there every moment of every day and we can talk to Him and know Him face to face.

That’s what I’m looking forward to.

So that’s my challenge for today is to keep looking forward to that, to keep my focus on what really matters. Him. And that will entail keeping my glasses clean, even if it’s with the hem of my shirt.