“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” Heb 12:1-3
In my sermon last Sunday, I encouraged you from Colossians 3:2 to “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” As followers of Christ, we are called to not be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2). We are to think differently about the events of our day, to have different and better priorities, and to see the struggles and triumphs of each day through the lens of the coming kingdom of God. I emphasized to you Sunday the importance of recognizing that heaven is real, and that the spiritual reality of eternal life to come will change how we live today. Another important part of transforming our thinking is to meditate on the life of Jesus.
The author of Hebrews urges us to “consider” Jesus and how he lived with such perfect love and patience under the constant persecution and scheming of wicked people.
To “consider” something means to think it over – examine a person or event from different angles; look at all details; think about how you would react in the same situation. What led up to the event? What are the consequences or results of the action?
We should constantly be “looking to Jesus” and “considering” how he lived. We must consider how he spoke to people, how he prayed, spent his time, dealt with temptation, how he focused always on accomplishing the Father’s will. We must be regularly returning to the gospels in our Bible reading to be reminded of his beautiful and perfect life. As we read of Jesus interacting with lost people in the gospels, it will transform the way you think about people in your day. As you are reminded of Jesus’ priority to do the Father’s will at all times and at any price, your thinking will turn toward heaven and be transformed!
When our thinking is not of an eternal perspective, not fixed on Jesus, we can quickly and radically get off track. In Matt 16:21-23, Jesus taught his disciples how he must suffer and die to accomplish the salvation of his people. Peter saw this as foolish talk, and tried to dissuade Jesus from doing the Father’s will. Jesus swiftly and powerfully rebuked Peter, telling him, “you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Peter was off in his thinking because he was not listening to Jesus.
I urge you, make time daily to prayerfully read the Scriptures. Read often of the life of Jesus. Set your mind on things that are above. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. I’m praying for you this week!
Blog post by Vic Carpenter, Teaching Pastor (8/16/2019)