“Blessed be the LORD, my Rock.”
Enormous boulders too high and wide to climb were curiously placed in a city we traveled through on vacation this past summer. The rocks appeared to be intentionally positioned there, but they didn’t seem to follow a landscaping purpose. The motive was disturbing.
I was informed that the purpose of the sizeable boulders was to prevent homeless people from taking up residence in those locations.
As I filtered through the sadness of this city’s solution to the homeless situation, my thoughts drifted and I began to contemplate how these rocks were perceived. These massive rocks were seen as objects to take up space preventing anything else from being in that place.
Great effort, planning, and equipment would be needed to relocate boulders of this magnitude. When we considered building a new home, we discovered that land must be assessed for its buildability and some land is unbuildable or the location of a home can be changed due to rocks too broad and too deep. It is difficult to imagine how rocks can take up prime real estate so that another person or object cannot reside there.
My mind then leaped from the role of a rock and its societal implications to The Rock and my personal spiritual life.
I need The Rock to reside in my brain, leaving no room for other thoughts to take up residence.
Critical thoughts, driven thoughts, overanalyzing thoughts, creative ideas, and well-made plans are all deliberations that continually take up space in my head. Some are necessary, but the majority are not, and their lingering existence rob my peace.
In the blog, “Three Ways To Attain Peace,” we looked at how God keeps in perfect peace those who keep their minds fixed on Him and when they place their trust in Him (Isaiah 26:3). The following verse in Isaiah chapter 26 brings a colossal landscaping solution to how this peace is maintained.
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock” (Isaiah 26:3-4, NLT).
Jesus is The Rock.
“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame” (1 Peter 2:6, NIV).
Jesus is the stone, The Rock, and when we fix our mind on Him, allow Him to abide, take up residence within us there is no longer any space left for shame, only peace and joy.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me, you can do nothing…. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:5, 11, NRSV).
The Greek word for abide means to stay in a given place, remain, to dwell. When we provide The Rock with the spaces in our minds, things will change; our perspective, our strength, our joy, and our peace will become more solid.
Another purpose for this landscape choice in our mind is how The Rock is also a fortress, an indestructible wall around our thought life.
“The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer, my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge…” (2 Samuel 22:2, NIV).
Walls are built to keep the good stuff in and the bad stuff out. When Jesus takes up residence and fills the prime real estate in our minds – the empty places, the undiscovered places, the scary places, and the everyday places of our minds – we are better equipped to refuse the infiltration of unwelcomed thoughts and sanction the solid thoughts to remain.
NOT WITHOUT A FIGHT
“Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer…” (Psalm 144: 1-2, NIV).
Here The Rock prepares us to fight. We must do the work of keeping fixed on Christ, allowing His Words to abide in us. Our peace is worth fighting for.
“…He will set me high on a rock. Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me…” (Psalm 27: 5, 6, NRSV).
I love the imagery of us fighting the relentless entourage of negative thoughts and the obstinate circumstances that do not alter. As we fight, we see the mighty hand of God lifting us up and placing us on a mammoth boulder where we tower above our enemies below. No matter how hard they try, they cannot reach us. We look down to see we are standing on the shoulders of Christ, whose hands are securely fastened around our ankles. We stand steady and solid.
And we boldly sing the words to this old hymn,
My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness I dare not trust the sweetest frame But wholly lean on Jesus’ name
On Christ the solid rock I stand All other ground is sinking sand All other ground is sinking sand
Since that vacation and my musing over rocks in landscapes, I will never look at a rock the same. As shocking as it was to hear how those rocks’ purpose was being used, it also rattled my soul to think of when it comes to my mind, The Rock needs to take up residence in all the spaces of my life.
Living in north Georgia, I see rocks a lot. From gargantuan rocks planted by God since the beginning of time to other large rocks bordering a yard in hopes of keeping unwanted traffic from marring a front lawn. They all now serve as reminders.
I want to live with every available space in my life dedicated to The Rock. Will you join me?
Meditate: Jesus is my Rock.
Reflect: Why would we ever entertain sinking sand over a sure solid rock? What are some of the things that occupy the spaces in your mind? What would it look like for Jesus to take up those spaces in your mind? What is one thing you can begin doing that will help you give Jesus more space in your mind?
Deeper: Psalm 27:1-6; Psalm 144: 1-10; 1 Peter 2: 4-9
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Hymn referenced: Edward Mote. The Solid Rock. 1832.
(Bible References: NIV – New International Version, NLT – New Living Translation, NRSV – New Revised Standard Version)