CAPTIVATED BY CHRIST
You have heard the saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” However, the converse to that can be applied just as easily. Purity or Cleanliness in, Purity and Cleanliness out. I would venture to say that many times whether the input is garbage or pure content, the choice is ours. All of us need to make better decisions, however I encourage my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to really focus on their total engagement with Jesus and His Holy Spirit.
As mentioned, we have inputs – the eyes and ears. These we use for our sight and hearing. We have a processor called the mind. This we use to grow or evolve our thought and emotional life. Then we have our output – the mouth. Here we have the tongue that forms words which holds the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21). So, in order to show the importance of the whole Christian needing to be captivated by Christ, every moment of every day, let’s break down these parts.
Regarding the eyes, Jesus stresses the importance that the guarding thereof will protect one’s entire health.
- "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" (Matthew 6:22-23)
In respect to the heart or emotions, Jesus says,
- “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” (Matthew 15:18-19)
- “The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” (Psalm 19:8)
- “Light in a messenger’s eye brings joy to the heart and good news gives health to the bones.” (Proverbs 15:30)
- “Do not conform 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.” (Romans 12:2)
- “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
However, Jesus is known by many other titles and marvelous names than Judge. And because of His total sovereignty and our need of Him in our lives, I urge you as the writer of Hebrews once did –
- “…holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.” (Hebrews 3:1)
In Isaiah 55:8-9, Scripture says,
- “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’”
In the New Testament, Paul contributes to this idea when he says,
- “For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” (1 Cor. 2:11)
- “How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them.”
- “’Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings.’” (Proverbs 1:23)
However, even more precious than a Master-Servant relationship is a Godly Friend relationship. This change is exactly what John describes has occurred through Christ with Jesus as our Mediator, High Priest, Lord, King, Savior and Friend. John 15:15 says,
- “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
Probably one of the best and well-known passages of Scripture to cover the topic of human speech, language or word choice is James 3:3-12. Whoever invented the phrase – Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. – did not know what they were saying. We all know the truth that words do hurt, because there are hurtful people. However, just as this passage states, out of the same mouth that cursings burst forth, there are blessings, praises and compliments that can flow.
- “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.” (James 3:10-12)
James goes as far as to say the tongue or our word choice – “corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” (James 3:6). If you think that is an unkind picture, wait there’s more! James continues and says, “but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:8)
Do you see why the inputs have to be surrendered to God? However, we could distort them in the processing phase so the Christian needs to surrender the processing stage. Then believers still could muff the communication part of anything so we desperately need God’s fulltime intervention.
There is not a part, phase, stage of operation or life-aspect that we do not need God. Luke says in Acts 17:28 – “For in Him we live and move and have our being.” If Christians reflect this practice of His encompassing presence in their lifestyle by monitoring and adjusting their inputs, protecting their processing and screening their outputs according to The Word of God and The Holy Spirit, then those around them will know they are Captivated By Christ.