Broken Cistern or God’s Eternal Ocean?

Today’s scripture: Colossians 3:2 (NRSV) (The Message) (KJV) What might God be saying to me?

My thoughts (Steven Adams):

Colossians 3:2 exhorts us to SET our minds on things above; not on things of the earth. It’s like the SETTINGS on our phones. The way we adjust the settings determines how and for what purpose our phone will function. “Things above” are spiritual realities which are eternal; not the realities we see on earth and mistakenly think will be here forever. For example, when I was in my teens and twenties, I vicariously lived for the thrill of sports. My favorite team and the Indy 500 were SO important! The amount of time and emotional energy I invested in them were staggering. As the years marched on, I realized that overemphasis on spectator sports is a broken cistern. All broken cisterns leak water and and aren’t good for the purpose for which they were created. They leave you powerless. As Jeremiah 2:13 proclaims, “My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and have hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” (KJV). I guarantee you that the NFL, the Big 10, and the Indy 500 won’t be around forever. But God will! So what purpose do I want for my life? Am I willing to invest in that purpose? To discipline myself to it? To pay a price for it?

As I Corinthians 2:14 says, I’ll never understand spiritual realities until I do my best to become spiritual myself. If I don’t train myself to walk in the spirit, spiritual truths will appear foolish to me. I’ll miss what’s truly important and foolishly believe that what I think is important is the ultimate. Not true! Don’t fall for it! If we put entertainment, money, sexual pleasure, our political views, our social life, or anything else above God, we will end up hungry and thirsty; sitting in a cold, wet, broken cistern praying we can get the heck out of there!!! God may surprise us by asking us to rethink something we knew as absolute truth and invite us to come to a different conclusion!

The only way we’ll ever get to the point of living in a way that eternally values our souls and God, and does not cheapen them, (please refer to Alex Pittaway’s sermon on 11/26/17) is to let God discern the thoughts and intents of our hearts!  When I’m out in left field and creating my own spiritual standards (while ignoring God’s), my spirit yells to me “Newsflash, Steve! God is already assessing the thoughts and intents of your heart!  Do you really think you’re smarter than God by creating your own spiritual standards???” If I have any humility, I answer, “No!” Then I can relax, let go of everything that’s been seductively distracting me, and start to savor the glorious reality of God, and embark on true education for my life. I take a step up to Higher Ground!

So what about you? What about me? What are we going to choose for today? God’s way or our way? And, don’t worry, God will never stifle your individuality when you conform to God’s ways. There is infinite diversity — infinite room for you to be yourself in the universe of God’s will!

Thought for the day: God, am I willing to re-evaluate all the ways of my life according to Your infinite wisdom and perspective?  Am I willing to set my mind of things above — in this current moment, in the day ahead, in the years and decades ahead? Or am I going to follow the crowd and take the popular path, investing my time in building a bigger and more elaborate broken cistern?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.