(The story of Ricky Patterson written by Mary Alysse Dodds)
I’m a sinner, prone to lust and complaining. I don’t like that happening. I don’t want lust to win. Romans says to beat sin, I need to live in the Spirit where sin cannot exist. But how?
“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit” (Romans 5:8, KJV).
Wow. That makes a lot of sense. That’s how I became a musician. I loved music as a kid, so I meditated on it. I didn’t sit there with my fingers up, but I desired and dwelled on music. I thought about music over and over again, and eventually I became a musician. It’s like a formula that you can apply to anything.
I am, I become what I think about. When I think about food a lot, I usually go eat something. If I thought about food all the time, I would probably get fat. So to enter the spiritual realm, I need to think about the things of God. It should be obvious, when I think about God the focus is on God.
So I started memorizing Scripture and repeating it over and over in my head until my thoughts changed. Then I would turn to thanks. I was up in a tree in pretty strong wind, and I didn’t like the wind very much. But I thanked God because I knew the wind was there for a purpose. Even if I didn’t believe the wind was good, there are always a million things I can thank God for, my family, beautiful creation.
I don’t particularly like my work, but I love being in the woods. I look around amazed at how beautiful it is, and I credit God for it. I think of the power of God, how awesome he is, and how totally nothing I am.
There’s real, actual power in Jesus. It’s different than thinking about music or any other discipline. When I dwell on the things of Jesus, it’s a relationship. I get benefits back to me, more than just enjoying music. He’s a real, living, caring God, who gives me peace and satisfaction.
It’s no longer a choice of whether to sin or not to sin. It’s no longer mustering willpower, sometimes giving in, sometimes resisting, and then being back in the same situation all over again.
The real choice is whether to live in a the spiritual realm or a fleshy realm. In the Jesus’ realm, the flesh cannot touch me. I no longer want sin. But everything keeps pulling me back into the fleshy realm. I get hungry, and that’s physical. I complain, and when I keep thinking about how annoyed I am, I live in dissatisfaction.
But when my mind is in the spiritual world, sin cannot enter that world to tempt me. Sin isn’t desirable. When I imagine Jesus, when I pray, when I wonder at the power in the Bible, I’m in a realm where lust and complaining don’t exist.
Ricky Patterson is a husband and adoptive father of six wonderful children. (I may be a biased aunt.) He’s the lead guitarist of The Earl’s Court and a tree trimmer who loves blues, coca cola, and the King James Version. He tries to love without expecting return because his personal needs have already died with Christ.