Greetings everyone. Rob here.
I’m about to head into a time of sabbatical for which I’m very grateful. It’s God’s perfect timing. For me, that means no sermons, no blogs and no social media. It’s an invitation to simplify and shrink my world; to be present in the here and now. That is actually a challenge for me. I like to think big, think ahead and think generally. I realised the other day that thinking is kind of a hobby for me. Over the years God has been working on me to think less and trust more. Kiley and I were praying the other day about an issue at church and out of her mouth came this gem:
Help him to see that he can’t think his way through this.
Oh my goodness. Talk about being exposed. That prayer was so true and so needed. God is sorting out the issue and I need to trust him. He is sorting out my own heart and I need to trust him. He is leading me on my sabbatical and I need to trust him. The difficulty comes because I’m good at thinking and we all need to think. Most people need to think more I suggest. But when I’m trusting my own thinking over and above God’s thinking then I’m committing a form of idolatry. I’m reminded of Romans 12:2.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
The transformed mind is one that’s acutely attuned to the will of God, which is good, pleasing and perfect. That means a transformed mind is a surrendered mind. As Paul says in the previous verse:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.
If God is to renew my mind, fill my mind with his thoughts, then I need to surrender my mind to him. Now, I’ve tried to do this over the years as I mentioned, but clearly God wants to shift some of my default settings. It gets me to thinking that God wants my sabbatical to be more like a backpacking trip than a holiday on a cruise ship. Every day I need to pack lightly, be open to new adventures and trust my guide. I need to let God shape my time and not try to dictate terms. It’s about walking with him far more than it’s about achieving anything. That’s when true restoration comes. Restoration comes from intimacy with God, not from trying to arrange for my own relief .
These are my final words for several weeks. May we all give our minds over so that we may have the mind of Christ. May his thoughts be our thoughts. May his Spirit fill our hearts and minds so that we may bear witness to his love. And may grace and peace be yours.