October 30, 2017
Can we grapple a bit together today? I want us to honestly ask ourselves and one another how we do this?
set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Is reading a couple of devotional entries a day supposed to do this for us? Is this a matter of thinking about Jesus for a few minutes every morning? If I’m honest, and I look at my own life, that’s what it comes down to. Sure, I think about Jesus throughout the day. I pray without ceasing sometimes, but Colossians 3:1-2 seems to be asking for something a bit more comprehensive and engaging.
I have written before about the Christian life being much more about receptivity than activity and I stand by that. The life hid with Christ in God is not about amping up our activity but deepening our receptivity. So what does receptivity look like? It surely must mean more than a few minutes of reading spiritual things and thinking about Jesus. Receptivity looks like this:
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
I think athletes get this more than the average person. Athletes have a pre-game routine they stick to with religious fervor. It is completely embodied, with physical, mental, spiritual and social elements. Watch a professional golfer in their pre-shot ritual. Observe the consistency of a field-goal kicker on the football field prior to the kick. Note the idiosyncratic and even superstitious gestures of a baseball pitcher before every single pitch. The best athletes are distinguished by their ability to wed a type of meditative, futuristic visualization with a pre-programmed form of muscle memory to reach extraordinary levels of performance and achievement.
There’s a word that captures this kind of focus: devotion. I think the insight my grappling is leading me to is the following. We have traded devotion for devotions. I’m afraid we’ve gotten a lot better at delighting ourselves with restful morning devotions than we are at the movemental discipline of rigorous devotion.
Maybe it’s time we took a break from our morning devotions and came up with something more like a pre-game warmup, or a pre-day ritual. Maybe we are doing the right kinds of motions, but we need to re-connect them to the movement again. It’s about re-setting our hearts and minds What if we thought of our day as the game and our schedule as the field of faith. What would it mean to peer through the lens of our calendar at the ascended Lord Jesus Christ?
When the Holy Spirit calls you to set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things[,] he’s not asking if you did morning devotions. No, he’s calling us to another plane of devotion.
Abba Father, we thank you for your son, Jesus, in whose life we see pure devotion. Come Holy Spirit and awaken me to the thinness of my “devotions” and awaken me to fix my gaze on the Devoted One, that I might learn to become like him. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.
- How about it? Are your devotions leading to devotion or are they just more devotions?
- What’s your pre-game/day warm-up look like?
- How does this call to set your minds and hearts on things above challenge you today? How will you respond? What experiment in devotion will you try today?
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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.