By Marcus C. Grodi
Some are short adages that set boundaries on life: "Finders, keepers ... " "A bird in the hand ..." "Penny-wise ..." "Last one in ..."
Others are more negative, accusations that tear us down, keeping us from growing up: "You're a born loser." "Stupid!' "Momma's boy." "Wimp!"
When Jesus was attacked by the devil during a time of great deprivation, fighting the voice of temptation, He turned to His knowledge of Scripture to defeat the enemy. And this is exactly how we, too, can redefine those mental messages, to make sure that we are living by God's values and seeing ourselves through His eyes.
As we close this year dedicated to St. Paul, here are a few powerful verses from his epistles (Revised Standard Version) that are particularly helpful in fighting the daily battles against the world, the flesh and the devil. I urge you to memorize these and meditate on them often.
"I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
"Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Rom 12:1-2).
"Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come" (2 Cor 5:17).
"Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, and make holiness perfect in the fear of God" (2 Cor 7:1).
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law" (Gal 5:22-23).
"Therefore, putting away falsehood, let every one speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil" (Eph 4:25-27).
"Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil 3:13-14).
"Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil 4:6-7).
"I can do all things in him who strengthens me" (Phil 4:13).
"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (Col 3:12-17).
"The sacred writings ... are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work" (2 Tm 3:14-17).
You'll be surprised by how much joy and peace the repetition of these verses will bring. TCA