Remain in me and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (John 15:4)

You live where your thoughts go.  Jesus says that the only condition for having life is to be in Him.  How can we be in Him?  The only interpretation that makes sense to me is that we are in Him to the extent that He occupies our thoughts.  I live in my head, with my thoughts.  Most of the time, my thoughts center on me.  It’s no wonder I get bored, if my thoughts are about Maria.  Where’s the life in that?

But do we have control over our thoughts?   Well, we certainly can exercise will power and thereby replace thoughts that are not life-producing.  God did give us imagination.  If I don’t like a thought I’m having, I can choose to think about something else.  And the more emotion and color I give that replacement thought, the more real and powerful it becomes.  If you’re like me, you do this very naturally when you imagine how good some ice cream or a piece of chocolate will taste. Pretty soon desire builds and you can almost taste it.  I can even start salivating and justifying why I deserve that ice cream.  See? We DO have the skills.

I heard Robert Rayburn from Faith PCA in Tacoma talk about pride in a podcast sermon.  When we’re thinking about ourselves, whether how clever or how sinful we are or how uncomfortable our circumstances are, that is pride.  Our only way out of the incessant pride, is both to focus on and actively love God and our neighbor.  We have got to get away from thinking about ourselves.  Now if I connect that idea with the scripture above, I see that LIFE (i.e. energy, abundance, joy, anticipation, satisfaction, peace) only comes to the degree that my thoughts remain about Jesus.

And here is the bonus – Paul even tells us that if we cast on Him all the self-things that concern us, God is sure to give us His ‘eirene’ (Strongs # 1515)- His peace/bliss/blessedness.

This, dear ones, is a no-brainer:  Think about oneself, get bored  versus Think about Jesus, get life.

God, give us the grace to redirect our thoughts.

May God’s bliss (eirene) and life (zoe – Strong’s # 2222) be with us all.