December 19 – Letting Christ Rule In Our Hearts

Psalm 119 is a devotional on the word of God. It is has 22 divisions all headed by a different letter in the Hebrew alphabet. The Psalmist said, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (vss. 9,11). Paul expands upon this instruction in Col. 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” Rule means to act like an umpire. How do we let the peace of Christ arbitrate in our hearts? By letting the word of Christ dwell within us (Col. 3:16).

Suppose you have stored a lot of filth in your mind. One day you decide to clean up your mind. The moment you make that decision, the battle got worse. As long as you are mentally giving into tempting thoughts, you will hardly feel the struggle. The battle begins the moment you decide to resist the tempting thoughts and choose to clean up your mind. How can we do that? Imagine your mind to be a pot filled with coffee. Because you chose to mix coffee grounds with the water in the pot, the liquid is dark, dirty, smelly, and opaque. There is no way you can filter out the coffee from the water, just like there is no delete button in your mind.

Now suppose there is a bowl of crystal clear ice next to the pot, with a sign on it saying, “The word of God.” There is no way you can dump the whole bowel into the pot at one time. But you can take one cube of ice per day and put it in the pot. At first you may not notice any difference, but if you continued to put in one cube per day, it wouldn’t be long before the liquid begins to clear up. If you did it long enough, you wouldn’t be able to taste, smell, or see the coffee in the pot. It is still there, but it has been diluted by the word of God. That will work provided you don’t put one ice cube in along with one scoop of coffee every day.

Our minds are like computers. If we put garbage in, we will get garbage out. The process of renewing our mind often begins with a couple steps forward and one step backward. We spend time in God’s word during our devotions, but then we go back into the world for work and leisure where we are mentally assaulted again. Learning to take every thought captive in obedience to Christ takes time and commitment, but it can be done. The next day we take three steps forward and one back, then four steps forward and one back. If we stay committed to the process, it will soon become 20, 30 and 40 steps forward and one back.

The Spirit of God will lead us into all truth if we choose that path, and He will convict us if we choose the wrong path. Make a commitment to be like the Psalmist, who wrote, “I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word” (vss. 14-16).

Dr. Neil

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