Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Taking Care of our Mind

A squirrel in our yard
     Going on our walk this morning, I was blessed to see a beautiful hawk sitting on a power line majestically looking down at us as we strolled by.  At that moment, I thought of how marvelous is God's creation.  To the hawk and eagle, God has given tremendous sight so that they can spot a small animal for their meal from high above the earth .  When it comes to dogs, the Lord has endowed them with a sense of smell that beats anything we can imagine.  In addition, their ears can catch sounds too high pitched for our ears.  Then, there is the comical squirrel who does a daily high wire act on the power lines.  Their tail gives them tremendous balance, and their ability to bounce across a piece of property often enables them to run for cover when a predator is near.  Each of these animals have certain abilities but they do not have a mind and soul like man who was the crown of God's creation.  Indeed, our mind is like a giant computer able to run the functions of the physical body and also able to learn and reason.  God's intent was to create us to bring glory to His name and to enjoy fellowship with Him forever.  However, we all know what happened in the Garden to disrupt that relationship with our Creator as well as corrupt our minds and souls.  But thanks be to Jesus Christ who came to set us free and restore us by the sacrifice of His life!  We now are new creations in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17).  This leads to a question.  How well are we taking care of our minds and hearts?  If we are to care for God's creation and bring glory to His name, we need to know how to be renewed in our minds.
A falcon at Dalhousie Castle in Bonnyrigg, Scotland
     One reason the mind is so important is because it is the seat of the will, emotions and reasoning.  It is here where the enemy strives to gain entrance.  If he can capture our thoughts in weak moments, he can stir temptation.  This is why Paul's writing to the church in Ephesus included a description of putting on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).  One of the most important pieces of protection is the helmet of salvation.  We must remember to whom we belong and think as our Lord thinks so that we can withstand the flaming darts sent by the enemy.  A key example is our Lord Jesus Christ who stood against the devil as He was tempted in the wilderness.  He was able to over come each temptation by reciting to His adversary the truth that comes from the Word of God.  This is what drove the devil away.  We can do the same thing if we  know the Bible.  Yes, it does require how can we exercise our mind to make it able to face the challenges that come to us each day?
     Of course, the first thing I think of is a private time of prayer and reading of God's Word.  It is a simple exercise which really needs to be a regular staple of our daily spiritual diet.  Many Christians are starving for truth simply because they will not spend time getting to know God through the pages of His Word.  Without this knowledge, we open ourselves up to attack.
Roscoe P. Coltrain our Basset Hound
     Secondly, we protect and nurture our minds when we take time to attend Sunday school and church.  These are times of instruction, discussion, and accountability.  The early believers did not neglect gathering.  Luke writes in the book of Acts these words:  "And they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.....And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people.  And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved" (Acts 2:42,46-47).  We do ourselves a good deal of harm when we do not make the effort to be in God's house each week.  Private study alone cannot bring about the growth in our faith. We need the accountability of fellow believers and the preaching of the Gospel each week in order to stretch our minds and heal our souls.  It is a negative, painful, harsh world out there.  We cannot be a light to others if we never trim the wick of our mind.  Burning brightly for Christ requires fuel, and this comes as we gather together in the presence of the Lord to hear His Word preached and taught.
     Finally, I believe our mind is renewed each time we tell the story of our salvation to others and offer to them the "Bread of life" as their Savior and Lord.  As we recall the changes He has made in our life and share the scriptures with others, we are reaffirming the glorious transformation that God has accomplished in our own hearts.  It is like preaching to ourselves as we share with others, and there isn't a soul who does not need daily reminders of God's mercy and grace.  I believe this is another reason why Jesus gave us the privilege to be His ambassadors so that we would never forget our great salvation as we tell others what He has done for us.
     Truly, God has given great gifts to all His creatures, but to man, He has given the greatest crown of creative ability - his mind.  When that mind is fully engaged for the sake of Christ and changed by His truth as found in the Bible alone, we will reflect and glorify our Creator.  We will be able to enjoy Him forever, but we must commit to private study of the Word, gathering in fellowship with other believers and sharing the Good News of our salvation with others.  When we take the time and effort to put God first, He will guard our hearts and minds in Christ (Phil 4:7).  May God help us to yield every thought to Him that we may have the mind of Christ in this world!  Selah!

I welcome your thoughts.  They bring encouragement to me and others.  How has God worked in your life to stretch your mind and make it more like the mind of Christ?

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