You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

There is an old saying, “What consumes your mind controls your life.” So let me ask you: What has been consuming your mind lately? Has it been Jesus? Or have you been focused on something smaller than Him? Read on and be encouraged today!

In the history of the Christian church, there are countless stories of martyrs who died singing hymns and spiritual songs to the Lord. And their deaths were not easy deaths! Some were brought into the arena, where lions would tear them from limb to limb as the audience cheered the gruesome spectacle. Others were impaled on stakes, covered in pitch, and lit on fire. Still others were nailed to crosses that lined the roads in Rome, dying slowly and in terrible agony as a reminder to all who passed by what would happen to those who claimed Jesus as Lord. How is that possible? How did they give glory to God, even in the midst of the cruelest torture? The answer is that their focus fostered their faithfulness. Their minds were wholly centered on Jesus, and their hearts were beating solely for Him.

I don’t expect that you or I will be thrown to lions or impaled on stakes or nailed to a cross. However, we are all troubled by so many things in this life that cause us to be both fearful and faithless. We have a tendency to focus on our problems rather than our possibilities. We become consumed by our obstacles rather than our opportunities. And what consumes our minds will control our lives.

The key to rising above the challenges of daily living is to live each day in the shadow of the cross. This is where we are reminded of what God in Christ has done for us. This is the place where sin, Satan, and death were conquered on our behalf by our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the place where the eternal destiny of all who will but place their trust in the atoning death of Christ was sealed, and that is how Christian martyrs can die with songs of praise on their lips, because they know that to be absent from the body is to be immediately present with the Lord who died to save them (2 Corinthians 5:8).

With the cross in view, we will not be distracted by the cares of this world. We will be reminded, just as the martyrs were, that the power within us is far greater than any power that comes up against us. Remember, focusing on the cross of Christ keeps us faithful to the Christ of the cross. May this truth comfort and encourage you today to live the life God has called you to live for His glory and the good of others, knowing that your focus will foster faithfulness.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!


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