Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Discipline of the Mind

My dad used to walk around and say every now and then, "An idle mind is the devil's workshop". Found in Proverbs 16.

I'm a thinker aka I think a lot. Jeremy says that I must have the inability to turn my mind off. Even when I go to sleep, I am oftentimes turning a million things over in my head at one time. When I have a day off from work with nothing on the schedule, my mind will find itself heading down a path of a nice little spiral. The proverb my daddy occasionally quotes rings true in this instance. Just like an overachiever kindergartner who is bored on the first day of school, the mind has to be filled in with new things. The kindergartener has to be given new material to store inside his mind - to learn, to grow, to be challenged. I have to put new ideas and teachings into my own mind in order to be challenged and grow also. By not reading and studying the Word of God, I am prohibiting my mind from being renewed into the mind of Christ.

I am currently reading Barbara Hughes's Disciplines of a Godly Woman. This quote from the chapter about the discipline of the mind precisely explains what I've mentioned above (Work with me here because she is quoting from someone else ha):
"In a book called Recovering the Christian Mind, Harry Blamers points out that while Christians may worship and pray as Christians, they are suffering from religious anorexia, a loss of appetite for growth in Christ. God has given us this amazing instrument-- the mind. We mustn't take it for granted. We need to program it wisely- never leaving it unguarded, unthinking, and undisciplined."

Isn't that powerful!? Wow! I am so challenged by this section of the book and think of several things to pull from this. Spiritual anorexia -- I've only learned about the starvation that occurs as a result of physical anorexia; however, the visual image of us starving ourselves spiritually by not studying the Word of God faithfully or shutting out harmful activities to our mind is absolutely powerful. Secondly, I think of my high school computer programming class and the hours I poured over trying to figure out the basics of C++. I didn't get very far. But in order to get a program to work on the computer, one must be pretty savvy with writing these codes/"commands" that will make this machine operate. In the same way, we have to program our minds to function properly. What does properly actually look like? Properly means the mind of Christ. This was the intended state of our minds before the fall of man. By His grace, the Lord is renewing and transforming our minds to that intended state. Romans 12:2 gives a better picture of this - Though the Holy Spirit is the agent behind that renewing, we can participate in be obedient as well. Guarding our heart doesn't just look like protecting it from the fellas that enter our lives, but it is applicable to EVERY part of our lives for those who are followers of Christ.

The writer of the Proverb knew the devil's schemes and plots when a mind is not being challenged towards growth in Christ. That idle mind can open a space for worry, doubt, fear and ongoing "what if" scenarios. I don't perfectly have the mind of Christ - far from it. But the Lord has been gracious to show me some of the trash that I allow into my mind and how it effects me. The Bible does not call us to completely turn the TV off and never watch again, but it does give fair warning about guarding what enters our mind and causes disruption. For me, I've had to cut out a few television shows that leave me down and out! I'm talking overwhelmed and nervous. I can't watch them anymore because I've noticed how much they effect me. It might look differently for you. Yet the only way any of us can discipline the mind is by reading and studying the Word of God - His Truth is what should permeate our thoughts. May we not be spiritually anorexic women, but seek to live godly lives as women seeking the mind of Christ. May we guard, protect and discipline our minds.

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