What is it with us? Why can’t we seem to keep our mind focused on what we’re supposed to keep it focused on?
I read a devotional from author Selwyn Hughes awhile back. Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the book, but I have jotted down below a few thoughts from him that I had written in my journal. The devotional was on “natural vs. spiritual” thinking. He said:
It’s surprising that so many Christians think naturally about their problems rather than spiritually… We will never learn to live effectively until we understand that the whole of life is spiritual, not just parts of it… Ultimately, the problems and difficulties of life are all spiritual; so the sooner we learn to think spiritually, the better we will be.”
His closing prayer really got to me:
I’ve given You my heart, help me now to give You my mind…”
Oh how hard that is sometimes, isn’t it? You can be sitting praying and all of a sudden you realize you’re thinking about your grocery list! So you ask for forgiveness, begin to pray again, and suddenly start to wonder: Have I fed my cat? Just silly stuff.
Yet there’s such good news – even the great Apostle Paul struggled with keeping his mind and body in check. Romans 7:15 (NLT) says: “I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate.”
No doubt about it: Life on this earth is not easy! It seems like every time we turn around there’s something in front of us tempting us to sin. There’s that juicy gossip at work; or that TV show or movie you really want to watch even though you know that it’s filled with things which are not good for your eyes to see or your mind to think about.
How about when you’re standing in a long line at the grocery store and the person checking out is fumbling around and can’t seem to get her credit card to work! Feel frustrated? Then you start rolling your eyes at others seemingly to say: Oh brother…
A pastor friend of ours shared years ago how he loves to sneak up on some of his church members in the local grocery store. He will all of a sudden deliberately bump his grocery cart into theirs. He said the gamut of expressions he gets from people are sometimes quite hilarious. People will turn around just furious, then see him and their demeanor changes suddenly: Oh … PASTOR, so nice to see you! He knows that they weren’t thinking that just a few moments ago!
Have you ever gotten angry at a waiter at a restaurant, and then when he leaves your table you turn around and see someone from your church, or perhaps an unsaved friend you’ve been witnessing to sitting nearby who saw the whole thing? OUCH!
OK, perhaps we did indeed blow our testimony (I did big time again just yesterday). Maybe it was that same sin that we seem to give in to time and time again (oh yeah, me and my big mouth). But one thing we have to remember is that God has redeemed us through His precious blood. He knows we are but dust (Psalm 103:14). What does dust do? It sits around until a breeze catches it, and then it blows away and settles somewhere else – it never stays in the same spot! (Ever have those nights when you seem to be thinking 101+ different things all at once instead of sleeping?)
So, then, what are we supposed to do? Turn to God, repent, and ask for His forgiveness (1 John 1:9). Then move on! Don’t continue to beat yourself up about your “failure.” We are children of the King of Kings, and He uses everything in your life – your failures and your successes – to mold you and shape you into just who He wants you to be. Isaiah 64:8 says that God is the potter, and we are the clay. He is constantly molding and shaping us to further bring glory to Him – to make us into that perfect vessel!
So turn your mind back to Jesus, and don’t let the enemy get a foothold. Put on the full armor of God the apostle Paul talks about in Ephesians 6:10-18. We are a new creation in Him, and the enemy will turn and flee when we remind him of Whose we are!