Mind how you go!

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As I sat alone in the restaurant at the caravan park drinking my coffee after a swim in the pool, a woman and her grandson came in and sat at a nearby table. She said to the little boy, “You will have to be quiet, there is someone here gathering their thoughts.” That set me wondering how old one has to be to make the transition from ‘thinking’ to ‘gathering one’s thoughts.’ Do one’s thoughts lie around in a jumbled mess after a certain age, like a child’s toys, rather than being arranged systematically in a tidy pile? I hope not.

The Bible has much to say about our thoughts and how we use our minds. It is an important issue for the Christian, and God cares very much what we think about, especially in moments of relaxation. We may remember the Apostle Peter’s exhortation as translated in the AV Bible that we should ‘gird up the loins of your mind.’ That is, tuck your shirt in, tighten your belt, and get ready for work. The ESV puts it like this: ‘Therefore, preparing your minds for action … do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance … but, you also be holy in all your conduct’ (1 Peter 1:13-15). We need to think carefully about our attitude towards a world driven by sinful passions, like selfishness and greed.

The Apostle Paul tells the Corinthian church: ‘Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature’ (1 Cor. 14:20). He was encouraging them to think carefully about the wise exercise of spiritual gifts in the congregation. This is something we are doing at Caersalem at the moment.

Paul counsels the Colossians that to have a right perspective on living in the world, with all its distractions, they should seek the things that are above, telling them and us to ‘set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.’ In normal circumstances a compass needle will swing around and point to the north. In the same way, the thoughts of a Christian should automatically tend to turn away from obsessively dwelling on the things of this world, but rather find joy in contemplating our Saviour Jesus Christ and our future home with him in glory. We have many duties and concerns which we must undertake and carefully plan ahead for, but it should always be with an eye to our future destination. This will put everything in a proper perspective and help us to be purposeful and diligent as we try to do all things for Christ’s glory. It will not then be said of us that we were so heavenly minded that we were no earthly use.

Paul later found himself in a Roman prison, yet in these trying circumstances, with so many of his own concerns to worry about, he was more concerned that the church at Philippi should know how to obtain the peace that he was experiencing. ‘Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace be with you’ (Phil. 4:8-9).

Are your minds troubled by all the violence and immorality we see on television or read in the papers? Here is the antidote and the road sign on our spiritual path which leads to inner peace – think often of Christ and thank him for all he has done for us. This will lead to a peace that the unbeliever knows nothing about in their experience: ‘The natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God … but we have the mind of Christ’ (1 Cor. 2:14-16). That is the true Mastermind. That was the mind the hymnist Katie Wilkinson (1859-1928) was praying for when she wrote:

 

May the mind of Christ my Saviour

Live in me from day to day,

By his love and power controlling

All I do and say.

(Christian Hymns, 607)

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Written by Nigel Faithfull, author and member of St Mellons Baptist Church (2016)

Comments

  1. Jacqueline Williams says:

    Lovely post,very thought-provoking.Thank you.

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