One of the key things that Candace Johnson also shared in her sermon was the importance of Philippians 4:8 in the battle for our minds. This is part of an entire passage where Paul shares some of the secrets to doing life so that our minds and souls are really experiencing the rule and reign of Christ. I found this verse a really helpful tool in the process of taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ; by simply using the verse as a list of criteria to assess whether a train of thought is OK to follow or not.
As part of this process I developed a practice of dwelling on a particular part of St Patrick’s breastplate. So whenever I needed to ‘centre’ and get off the runaway train of my thoughts (day or night) I would take some deep slow breaths and dwell on the words ‘Christ within me; Christ without me; Lowly and meek; Yet all-powerful’. This would help me become conscious of Him being within me, of Him surrounding me – closer than the air I breathe … the Prince of Peace and King of my heart!
After a while I sought to understand what the significance of the second two phrases were. It is true that Christ is within me – the creator of the universe, the all-powerful one; he is also the King of my life and my heart… so why doesn’t he just snap his fingers and put everything right – I have given him the right to do so, heck, I have asked him enough times to do so!!!?
His answer: when it comes to our personal lives, the things that we would ordinarily choose, he chooses to be lowly and meek. (Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart). He doesn’t express his reign in my life by taking over or lording it over me; he expresses it in lowliness and meekness, mentoring me so I can learn from him for myself. As I walk with him and get to know him, his heart, his ways, I learn the way to choose and I engage my will accordingly. He reigns in my life through the choices I make. (aside: This is freedom and it guarantees that true and unconditional love can genuinely exist between myself and the Prince of Peace, my King).
SO back to the battle for my mind; He reigns in my mind through the choices I make with my thoughts. But thankfully, he doesn’t expect me to carry out those choices in my own strength, He the all-powerful one, the King of my heart and my life, is within me. He is the strength I need to keep choosing and to follow through on my choices.