The mind is a powerful force. In fact, the mind is where most of our actions acutally begin. Like the tongue, as discussed in James 3, our thoughts can both bless and curse. They easily influence and are influenced by our surroundings. This is why we must be so careful about what our minds are dwelling on.
It is interesting to note how many Bible heroes regularly engaged in disciplines of the mind. Paul says in Romans 12:2 that we must "renew our minds" in order to discern the will of God; and in 2 Corinthians 10:5 we are encouraged to "take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." David, in Psalm 119, writes about meditating on and loving the Law of God. The Old Testament prophets spent much of their time in prayer (which is both spiritual and mindful), as did Jesus and the apostles.
Modern secular philosophers and scientists are constantly being amazed at the powers of the mind, and how simple practices such as meditation can impact a person's life. Their findings will eventually fall short, however, since without the mind of Christ they cannot achieve eternal life. However, it is obvious that mind-quieting exercises are effective in improving everyday life, so why is it that we Christians, who have the power of God dwelling within us, neglect such Biblical practices? Why is it so hard to simply "be still, and know God"?
In Ephesians 6, we read that our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against the dark, spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. No wonder it is so difficult to focus on good things! We are being attacked by spiritual evils! In other words, we are at war. It is vital that we combat Satan's forces with a quiet, peaceful mind that is focussed on Christ Jesus. It is only in such a state that we can discern His still, small voice as it guides us every day.
I have found two disciplines to be particularly helpful in growing my relationship with God. First, prayer. When Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to "pray without ceasing," he meant it literally. Now, I've found that most Christians have a backwards definition of prayer. They assume it just involves talking to God and reading the Bible to see what God has to say in return. While both of these are important aspects of prayer, I believe the Bible is clear that it can be much more. It is communion with God on a deep level through the Holy Spirit. However, it is difficult to enter the presence of God when our minds are caught up in the busyness of life, which is where the second discipline comes into play.
Biblical meditation can be a simple, but powerful, means of communing with the Father. When we learn to quiet our minds and hear the word of God through the Spirit, our very souls are nourished. Even repeating a single Scripture verse over and over can be an easy way to be still. Sometimes listening to calm music or sitting outdoors can be effective as well.
I understand that it can be difficult to find the time for such practices, but it is apparently very important, since Jesus regularly spent all night praying to the Father. If we truly want to have close fellowship with our Lord, and walk in His steps, we must be willing to dedicate our time to Him. He promises not to disappoint us.
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