Back in my Middle School years, we had a day they called Field Day. One of the events was called Tug Of War. You had this long rope, and one team was on one side, and the opposing team was on the other side.
You always hoped you would get on the team that had the most strength.
After the teams were created, we would walk over and position ourselves on our rope side. When the whistle went off, we were to pull with every ounce of energy we had to use. Someone would be declared the winner when one team pulled the rope past the ribbon in the middle.
There was often a season of time where the teams were going back and forth as you sat there anticipating who the winner might be. Sometimes we would be surprised that the team you least expected to succeed would end up winning.I learned that it wasn't always about physical energy, but mental mindset mattered. Click To Tweet
This battle between pleasing man and pleasing God has been like that tug of war for me. My heart desires to please God, but with my flesh comes fear, pride, and a wrong mental mindset.
And back and forth we go.
I don’t know about you, but my mind can wander easily, it can have agendas, and it can become an instant replay machine in a quick second.
One of my favorite go-to verses in the Bible is Isaiah 26 :3, which says, “You keep Him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because He trusts in You.
God has been speaking to me about simplifying. Yesterday He called me into the closet to do some more simplifying. I had some anxiety and stress when it came to my closet, and I asked Him to show me why I struggled to simplify this part of my life.
He is so faithful to show us when we ask Him.
The root of the struggle was that I was afraid I wouldn’t be left with anything to look as good as others around me, especially at church. It is genuinely humbling to admit this truth, but it was what was going on in my mind.
That shows me my comparison struggle is still there, insecurities are still wandering around inside me, and I have a choice to make. I can either please myself and attempt to keep myself comfortable with things, or I can obey God’s leading about what to let go of and trust Him to provide what I need.
This scenario is only one instance in my life; there have been a million more. I must humbly say I have often not chosen to please God, especially as a younger Christian, but it has not gotten that much easier to ward off my flesh even as I have grown.
Do you struggle this way?
Is there a tug of war going on in your heart when God calls you to obey Him?
How do we keep our minds on Him, so we can have His peace and have that trust in Him so when He calls us to obey, we are confident in who He is to us?
The Bible has many things to say about this, so we are never left without direction.
Colossians 3:2 – “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
God calls us to have an eternal mindset. What does that look like in our lives?
In my case with the simplifying closet scenario, to set my mind on the things of earth is put into action when I am worried about what I am going to wear, and not just that but if I am going to look as good as those around me. It creeps up in my heart when I become anxious about whether I will look stupid or less than and begin wondering if God will put me in that position by making me get rid of my better clothes.
When I choose to trust God and obey Him, my eyes are on eternal things. Our obedience matters to God, and the Bible is full of truth about that too. There are eternal consequences and rewards when we keep our eyes on Him and things that are above.
The eternal things are what matter. Earthly things are temporary, and they don’t last. In the end, they will burn up.
Romans 8:6-8 – “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
This truth is such a reminder to me. When I set my mind on the flesh and what it wants, it leads to death. Sometimes it leads to a hardening of my heart in a particular area, or it can be a killer of relationships. It can feed the places in my heart that need healing and restoration and bring more destruction instead.
When we feed the flesh, we invite darkness in, and we begin towards a dying inside.
When we set our mind on the Spirit, it brings light and life inside us. It brings healing and restoration, and it brings peace instead of anxiety and depression.Keeping our minds in the right place is essential to our lives, and it is crucial in this people-pleasing/God-pleasing tug of war. Click To Tweet
We have a clothing ministry at our church, and this morning my bag of clothes to give away got more extensive, and even though there is some anxiety about it all, I am putting it in my car and letting go of some things. There is more to come, I can tell. He is also asking me not to buy any clothes or shoes for a little while, and it sounds like He is asking me to fast for this season.
Deep down, my heart resists.
He wants me entirely focused on Him right now, which means letting go of other things and people for my eyes to be fully on Him.
Will I please my flesh, or will I please God? That is the question I must ask myself daily, and some days I ask minute to minute.
Do you find yourself in this spiritual tug of war?
The enemy wants us to feed the flesh and do what pleases us because He knows it will take us away from God and the life He wants for us.
For me, the lifelong battle has been feeling invisible and not good enough for the attention of others around me. It has been the battle of walking into a room and feeling like I am the most inferior one in the room.
I have believed the lie that I don’t have much to offer, so why would anyone else think so.
For most of my life, I have not had the money to buy what others say make us look nice, and I have not been able to keep up with the images around me.
God has been good to us, and now there is more freedom to do this. So, I want to fit in and look like I fit in finally.
These are deep roots within my heart that God wants to take out and heal. He wants me to see myself as who He has made me and be content there. He wants me to stop comparing and stop feeling like what I do or what I can buy makes me better.
His heart is for me to see that His opinion of me is the only one that matters.
I believe He is doing a deeper work in me right now, and I believe He wants to do that deeper work in you too.
Your struggles may be the same, or they may be different. Either way, God desires to do a much more profound work in us.
As I look ahead to this week to keep my focus on God in all of this, I will be practicing three fruitful steps I would love to share with you.
1. I will be starting my day in prayer for this by taking a few minutes just to surrender myself, my mind, my time, my tangibles, my people, and my heart. I will take time to confess that all I have is God’s and I am letting go of my grip on it.
2. I will keep my ears, eyes, and heart open to hear from God during my day.
3. I will be obedient and keep myself accountable to a special friend for that obedience. This is important for me when the things God asks me to do are hard. When I try to do those things alone, I often fail.
I would love to walk alongside you in helping you to keep your mind set on the things of the Spirit and having an eternal mindset. It is not easy to do in this life, especially when all we see around us contradicts what we are to be focused on.
We need each other.
Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your love for us. We surrender ourselves to You today. Thank You for the blessing of life and the way You have provided for us. We confess that You are the giver of our life, and You are our provider. Everything we have is Yours. Keep our minds set on You today and every day. Keep us focused on the things of the Spirit and help us walk through this life with an eternal mindset, seeking only to please You. Give us the strength to be obedient to You in what You ask of us, even when our flesh feels like it is dying, or the steps of obedience bring fear and anxiety. Help us to have Your peace that comes as we set our eyes on You today. In Jesus Name! Amen!