“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”Proverbs 4:23 KJV
The thoughts we entertain eventually become actions. Actions will eventually become habits. Habits will eventually become lifestyles and lifestyles become destinies. Is it any wonder, then, that the majority of spiritual warfare is directed at the mind?
The Spirit and the Mind
As I discussed in my previous post, “3 Easy Steps to Develop Your Spiritual Ear“, God’s primary way of communicating to us is through His Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 2:10-12, Paul writes:
“The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.”1 Corinthians 2:10-12
The Holy Spirit, who knows the mind of God, has been given to you and me. This is the most intimate of relationships. It is so intimate, that Paul says we “have the mind of Christ.” What a statement! It is also telling as to how the Holy Spirit communicates with us. He doesn’t speak to us primarily through some external voice, but through “God thoughts.”
The Apostle Paul talks more about the importance of the mind in Romans 8:5-8:
“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.”Romans 8:5-8
Being led by the Holy Spirit actually requires our mind to be engaged with the Holy Spirit. Paul talks about this again in Colossians 3:2 where he commands us to set our minds on things above rather than earthly things. And of course in Romans 12:1, we are commanded to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Are you getting the idea yet? If we are to hear from the Holy Spirit, we need to position our mind to hear from Him. Here are 3 practical tips you can use to maintain your mind.
A cursory reading of Exodus will tell you that God isn’t keen on complaining. What’s more is that grumbling and complaining actually war against our ability to hear from God. No one walking by the Holy Spirit will be full of bitterness, strife, complaining, and jealousy. Instead, they will fulfill the scriptures which command us to “give thanks in everything” (See 1 Thessalonians 5:18.) The very next verses say “Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesying.” (See 1 Thessalonians 5:19-20.)
Nothing will quench the Holy Spirit like grumbling and complaining. Wherever you find habitual complaining, you will never find the fire of the Holy Spirit. Complaining is evidence that our mind has shifted from contemplating God’s greatness to magnifying our problems. Complaining is symptomatic of mind that is set on the things of the flesh. The antidote is the spiritual discipline of gratitude.
Guarding the Heart
Entertainment is meditation. When we are watching a movie, read a book, listen to music, or watch the news, we are allowing our mind to meditate on what is being presented to us. A steady diet of mental junk food will deaden our spiritual sensitivity. If we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, what should we expect if we fill our minds with things that the Holy Spirit loathes?
If you want to increase your sensitivity to the voice of the Holy Spirit, it may be time to do a media fast. Maybe cut out some things all together. After all, if our choices in entertainment are hindering us from intimacy with God, it may be time to ask ourselves if it is really worth such a high cost. Our attitudes should be the same as that of the psalmist who said: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14.)
Meditating on Scripture
It is not enough to simply cut out meditation that is unhelpful or distracting, we ought to fill our minds with scripture. If the Bible is going to transform us, it is important that we do more than a cursory read, we need to allow our minds to marinate in the word of God.
The Bible commands us to allow the word of Christ to dwell in us richly. (See Colossians 3:16.) The word dwell is important here. I don’t dwell in the grocery store, the coffee shop, or the gas station; those are places I visit. I dwell in my house. This is how we ought to treat the Scriptures; they must be more than occasional visitors in our minds, they must dwell there. If you would like more information on how to meditate on the word of God, you can check out my article, “Meditating on Scripture: A Key to a Vibrant Spiritual Life“.
May you be led by the Spirit of God, as you walk with Him daily.