Personal Renovation Day 2 – Set My Mind on Things Above
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-3, ESV)
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8, ESV)
In Day One, we discussed a clean heart and how it is the first place to start when seeking personal renovation. Equally as important, though, is the mind. As someone who struggles with emotional disabilities, I can confirm that this is especially true. When our mental well-being suffers and our mind is cluttered with negativity and the darkness that the world brings, it is hard to see any growth. So, how do we refocus our thoughts?
Back when I was struggling a lot with my anxiety, I was reading through Ephesians and was struck by the armor of God. Specifically, I was thinking about the importance of the helmet of salvation. As you know, a helmet is used to protect the head (brain) from serious injury. As I contemplated why Paul would choose salvation as the helmet, I couldn’t help but see the beauty in it. If the truth our salvation is at the center of all our thoughts, there is no aspect of life that will not be touched for the better. The completeness of our salvation reminds us that no matter how many times we stumble we will always be forgiven. When we think of the version of ourselves before salvation, it humbles us and reminds us of the depth of His salvation. The fact that salvation is a gift freely offered shows us that every person we interact with is not only in need of it but was also deemed worth it by God. The constant reminder of salvation protects the mind from the attacks of the devil.
When I first started therapy, I didn’t realize how much of my mind was consumed with lies that I had taken as fact. In any given scenario in my mind there was a wealth of self-deprecation and negativity. Thoughts would pop into my head so frequently that I didn’t even hear them anymore, but I felt the weight of them. When I realized how many of them were spurred on by false beliefs and anxiety, it became easier to weed them out. My therapist encouraged me to allow the thoughts to take up space in my mind, and as they did, to weigh them against the truths I found in Scripture. This was the first time I fully grasped the concept of taking every thought captive. When those anxious thoughts come knocking, I now think through them, compare them with God’s Word, and if they conflict, I let them go. Our greatest weapon against a wandering mind is the Word of God.
Just as a clean heart requires constant maintenance, so keeping our minds filled with God takes work. There is no better place to start than with the Scriptures. The more we pour God’s Word over our weary, broken, and fragile minds, the easier it becomes to battle the enemy and our own flesh. After all, how can you weigh those negative thoughts against Scripture if you don’t know God’s Word in the first place? Setting our mind on things above is an active, daily practice. As sinful creatures our minds are prone to wander, so it takes diligence to turn our thoughts back to Him.
My challenge to you today is to turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim. Yes, I just quoted a hymn, but isn’t it beautifully simple? Make it a habit to look to Him and think of Him daily. Ask Him to not only cleanse your heart but cleanse your mind as well. When the negative or sinful thoughts arise, turn quickly to Him. Pour yourself into the Scriptures and become so familiar with them that when the thoughts arise, the corresponding passages are only seconds behind.