The mind is like a computer memory – it records data and feeds us back when we require it to or when we stimulate it. Our beliefs and convictions are stored in the mind and so the mind is really a powerful place. Psychologists say that, in up to 15% of cases, people with certain illnesses such as High blood pressure, Low blood pressure, hypertension and people who have heart attacks need to work on their minds.
Man is a spirit, lives in a body and has a soul (mind). We spend hours on end looking after the body – spa treatments, food, exercise, etc. We sometimes feed our spirits by attending church services, reading the Bible, praying and worshiping; which also constitute spiritual exercises. What do we do with the soul, the mind?
What do we deliberately do with the mind? Most times – nothing. The mind has become the junkyard where everything is dumped and the resultant effect…. Garbage in, garbage out.
Let’s consider some examples to help us understand how the power of the mind. In a classroom, a teacher meets two children. John has memorised his times tables and can chant them correctly but always in order. James understands the reasoning behind times tables and is, therefore, able to think through given problems at random. Because the James has engaged his mind in an analytical capacity, he doesn’t need to chant in order to recall his timed tables facts. Most athletes, apart from having a coach, have a ‘mentor/chaplain’ type person to give the periodic ‘pep-talks’ that are a vital moral booster. One retired Pro-basket ball player was asked to give advice to some rookies and he said, “If you don’t believe you have what it takes to go out there and beat Michael Jordan, you ain’t going nowhere in Pro-basket ball.” Top executives of multinationals are all hiring motivational speakers to empower their staff to excel.
What’s all the fuss about the mind? Proverbs 4: 20-23 sheds some light on the matter:
“My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ears to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” NKJV. Verse 23 is translated in The Message/Remix as: “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.” The Bible often uses the word ‘heart’ to refer to the nucleus of your soul, which is your mind; not necessarily your physical heart that keeps the body going. We are advised to guard our hearts because that’s where life starts.
When the Israelites, led by Moses, got to the land of Canaan, spies were sent in to sample the land and its people. The feedback from the majority was hopelessness and as such God could not take them in to conquer the land. The battles that had not yet been fought were already lost. Numbers 13: 30-33,
“Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, ‘Let us go up at once and take possession for we are well able to overcome it.’ But the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We are not able to go up against the people for they are stronger than we are.’ And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out saying, ‘The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from Giants) and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight and so we were in their sight.”
Even if they felt they were grasshoppers, how did they know for sure that the Giants thought the same of them?
When Joshua and the Israelites had crossed the Jordan and were advancing towards Jericho, they were not exactly confident. Spies were again sent in to sample the land and its people and the feedback was unbelievable. The people of Jericho had not seen them yet, but only heard about their exploits; really and truly, the battle was won! Joshua 2: 9-11,
“…I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.”
The Israelites who went out with Joshua and Caleb transposed their own opinion of who they were onto the Giants. We are also guilty of such transpositions. The following is a paraphrased version of an actual story in the life of a newly married couple.
Jolly June was an intelligent young girl who heard repeatedly from her mother that you could never trust a man. She meets and marries Bright Ray – a devout Christian. Bright Ray gets a new job which gives him a higher profile and longer hours at work. Jolly June goes in to visit once and sees the hot babes in miniskirts that are Bright Ray’s new colleagues. Her mind begins to wonder about the contents of the meetings at odd hours. Bright Ray comes home one night smelling of smoke, garlic and perfume – alarm bells begin to ring! Jolly June begins to harass, moan and nag and after a while, Bright Ray gets fed up of not being trusted. He considers his options:
- Give in to and try out the temptations?
- Walk away from his untrusting wife?
Our mindsets can really break or make us. In the two scriptures we looked at, we saw examples of the mind ‘breaking’ the people. Now let’s see the mind ‘making’ a man.
This is the story of a young man David, going out to deliver provisions to his older brothers who are in a war camp in the Valley of Elah. Unknown to him, his brothers and the rest of the warriors had been terrorised by Goliath, a Philistine giant who had challenged the Israelites to settle the war with a single duel. When David arrived and delivered the provisions, Goliath showed up again and repeated the same words:
“…Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. Bit if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us… I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.” 1 Sam17:8-10, NKJV
All the Israelites heard the same words but one man responded differently.
“…What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” 1 Sam 17:26, NKJV
David’s response was different because his mind was full of the experiential knowledge of God’s power. No one could dissuade him; his mind was set on what he believed and God backed him up! The Israelite warriors were also set in what they believed and so couldn’t imagine ‘fighting’ such a man. They trusted their skills, their armour and because that couldn’t win this particular battle, all hope was lost for them.
There is an on-going battle for the mind that we must win in order to maintain our position of victory in Christ. Goliath was a sight – certainly not for sore eyes- and his words matched his size. There are many ‘Goliaths’ in our day but let us consider just one: The Goliath called TV Series. What we see and what we hear especially about family life can quickly become what we believe. The airwaves are full of such twisted values; far removed from what God originally intended. Little wonder that our lives are advancing in the same direction. When all we see is unfaithfulness in families, it comes as no surprise and we even begin to anticipate similar behaviour from our spouses and our children. Questionable behaviour results in you arriving at such dire conclusions mentally, that your thoughts would make a good script for an episode in any of the leading TV series. The Bible says – to the pure, all things are pure; blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God; all things are lawful but not all things are expedient.
We really must go for therapy at the Spa of Righteousness and get a cleansing of the mind.
“ And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Rom 12: 1-2
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy –meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do and the God of peace will be with you.” Phil 4:8-9
I trust that you’ve been stirred to re-think your mindset or disposition about who you are and what you believe. The next step will be to come up with a specific, strategic plan to deliberately feed on the right nourishment that will result in a sound mind.