What’s on Your Mind?
I don’t know about you, but I certainly have a lot on my mind these days. We all have personal and family matters to think about. Many of us also make room in our minds for multiple connections with church, friends, jobs, and community. Besides all that, our minds bombarded with news (good or bad) and happenings, both local and global.
This very day I concern myself with meeting with friends for Bible study, transporting a grandchild to swim practice, household and business responsibilities, writing and praying that my grandson, who broke his finger, will NOT need surgery. That lists just a few things on my mind today. Most of these things are positive and pleasurable aspects of my life.
As we go about our days, unless we never listen to the news, you and I are blasted with information that can overwhelm our minds, emotions, and spirits if we’re not careful. We truly must take every thought captive--- on purpose! (1 Corinthians 10:5)
This very day I was also confronted with much tragic news--- local, national, and global. I’ll mention a few.
In my community, a five year old boy who had been missing for four days was found dead in an old septic system near his home. Last night tornados ripped through areas of our nation, destroying property and taking the lives of fellow Americans. It’s been decided that the aircraft, which crashed in the French Alps three days ago, appears to have been deliberately downed by the plane’s co-pilot. And of course, we can’t omit the constant threat of terrorists who seek to kill peace loving, innocent folks all over the world these days. And these are not the complete list of negatives that made their way into my mind today. These kinds of dreadful happenings are powerful forces that can easily dishearten any of us.
SO--- What’s on your mind today? You may be so consumed with personal misfortune that the calamities beyond your world have no room at all in your thoughts. Your personal disaster might be related to health, loved ones, financial matters, heavy responsibilities, and on & on & on. Our lists can be endless. It might be so bad that you want to crawl into a protective shell and simply take to a fetal position.
But, I’m here to declare today that God’s Word gives good instruction on dealing with a full and troubled mind. One of my favorite methods for coping is to follow the Apostle Paul instructs in Colossians 3:2, where he said, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
How are we to accomplish that? It’s not necessarily easy but it is necessarily deliberate. I find that one of the best ways to set one’s mind on things above is to read the Bible. I know that sounds like a simple pat answer but think about it for a moment. Let me give you a personal example.
A few years ago, I was going through several very negative experiences. It seemed that bad things just kept piling on me from several different directions. That helplessness of having no control in trying to do something to alleviate the emotional pain made me wonder just how long I could continue to function.
I was praying and in the Word consistently, as was my routine. I was even leading a Bible study at the time. But I still found myself dwelling on the negative things that were weighing me down. As I sought God I decided to go to the basics about Jesus, Himself.
I began to read through the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. When I got through that, I read through the book of Acts. No, I didn’t read it all in one day or week or month.
I was doing exactly what Paul had instructed the Colossian believers. I was setting my mind on things above, not on things on the earth. In doing this, God’s Word--- studying Jesus--- lifted me up to a higher level.
Those negative situations that kept piling on me did not just evaporate. Some improved, some eventually took care of themselves, some remained pretty much the same, and some got worse. I’ve looked back on that season in my life, a period of about eight months, and see how God used His Word as a tool to help me set my mind on things that are eternal, things that are true, things that are above the earth. During that particular time, I set my mind on Jesus, Himself, as I read through the Gospels. I believe I was led by the Holy Spirit to do exactly that.
Let’s look at Paul’s instructions, in its context: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4
Notice that the above passage contains abundant meaty encouragement that can set our minds on things above. It instructs, explains how and why, and then points to our eternal hope--- all built around Jesus.
Here we see a good example of the Word’s immense value in helping us set our mind on things above instead of things on the earth. So, be encouraged as you do just that.
If you’d like, please leave a comment telling of a time when you did as Paul instructed and set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth, and were thus encouraged and lifted out of sadness or discouragement or troubles of some kind. We can all be encouraged by one another’s testimonies. Thanks and God bless you abundantly today!