The Struggle of Mindset

Read Colossians 3:1-14

1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality,impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Setting my heart and mind on things above does not come naturally.  Instead, what comes naturally is setting my heart and mind on immediate happiness, contentment, and pleasure…for me.  I sit here this morning feeling convicted, and I’m reminded of how grateful I am for God’s forgiveness and grace.

No matter how busy I am or how much is on my plate, I will often go out of my way to play golf, ride bike, or pursue other things I like to do — simply because it’s what I like to do.  I go out of my way to do these things because it is convenient and comfortable to serve myself and chase after things that bring me satisfaction.

However, as I sit here this morning, I reflect on my past year.  It’s been a good year with a lot of blessings.  Honestly, I have nothing to complain about.  My life has been good.  Yet, I realize there have been too many situations where I have found myself feeling irritable, depleted, and tired.  There have been things with Men of Iron that haven’t evolved the way I anticipated, my wife and I are still trying to find a groove in our marriage since having a child, and my faith has been inconsistent.

I sit here this morning curious to know what my soul may feel like if I had been more intentional about setting my heart and mind on things above.  Setting my heart and mind on things above doesn’t necessarily mean I read my Bible more, memorize more scripture, and pray more.  Sure, that’s part of it.  It’s more than that, though.  IT’S ABOUT A MINDSET!  It’s about a mentality.  It’s about an approach to life.

Setting my heart and mind on things above is truly communing with God, where I not only sit and talk to Him, but I find a way to LISTEN, as well.  Setting my heart and mind on things above is less about my vision and more about His vision.  It’s about the things that really matter to Him — people around me, my marriage, etc.  I think Jesus is more concerned about the relationships with my neighbors than he would the growth plans for Men of Iron.  I think if my heart and mind were set on things above, then I would put much more effort and focus into loving my wife with awesomeness than I would into moving Men of Iron forward.  I think if my heart and mind were set on things above then I would be more likely to spend $50 on lunch and clothing for a homeless person in my community rather than spending $50 to play golf.

Setting my heart and mind on things above requires a true dedication to do the things that are important to Him.  Yes, God is concerned about the things that are enjoyable to me, however, the things that are enjoyable to me are often things that I make a priority.  If I’m really honest, when I think about my priorities, they are typically all about me — my goals, my dreams, my desires, my interests, my hobbies, etc.

My mindset is dangerous at times.  It’s all about me, me, me and so little about Him, Him, Him.  What’s your mindset?

Garret Barbush, Executive Director

Be Quick to Listen & Finish Well

It’s inevitable.  We will experience difficult times.  Over the last several months, I’ve been close to people who are experiencing extremely difficult times.  I’ve sat with these people, listened to them, tried to put myself in their shoes, etc.  More often than not, I’ve realized they just needed someone to listen.

As men, I think our initial reaction is to throw a bunch of advice down people’s throat, which doesn’t do any good.  It leaves people feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and ineffective.  God’s been convicting me of that lately.  I am quick to have an answer, yet I rarely take time to truly listen, reason through it, and then give advice.

One friend in particular  has been faced with an issue that I would never desire to deal with.  Honestly, I believe he’s dealt with it better than most but it’s still a struggle.  There have been multiple times over the past few months where me and him have sat together early in the morning and late at night just talking through his “stuff.”  My heart breaks for him, however, I know my job is to keep him accountable to staying strong and pressing through all of it.

I received a text message from him a few days ago, which hinted at the fact that he was struggling in that particular moment.  My gut reaction was to text him back and say, “Just stay strong.  Keep pushing forward.”  As I was about to do that, I felt something inside me say, “Slow down, Garret.  Just listen…don’t react.”  I swallowed my pride and I did exactly that.  I said to myself, “Ok, God.  I’ll wait on you.”

I picked up my Bible this morning and started reading Joshua Chapter 14.  This is where Hebron is given to Caleb.  I encourage you to read it.  At this point, Caleb is at the age of 85.  He was promised an inheritance of land from Moses when he was 40 years old, and he’s just now getting the opportunity to seize this inheritance.  As I was reading this, I thought, “Well, what’s he going to do?  He’s old.  It’s been 45 years since he was given this promise.”

Caleb does the exact opposite of what I thought he would do.  He says, “So here I am today, eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then.  Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day.”

Wow!  What a response.  Think about it– this is 45 years later!  Can you imagine going through turmoil, questioning and frustration for 45 years?  Wouldn’t most of us just give up and give in?  Caleb finishes well.  There’s a certain drive and intensity within him.

When I read that, I immediately picked up my phone and texted my friend back.  I said, “Read Joshua chapter 14 today. Be Caleb. Stay strong.  Stay focused.  Keep pushing forward.”

Friends– life wouldn’t be so hard if all of us didn’t expect it to be so easy.  Life is tough.  God never promised us a bed of roses.  A good friend of mine once told me, “You’re either in a storm, coming out of a storm, or about to go in to a storm.”  We will all be faced with difficulties and challenges.  I just encourage each of us to be Caleb.  Keep the faith.  Stay strong.  Stay focused.  Seize the opportunity to overcome your situation.

Garret Barbush, Executive Director