It’s been a busy few weeks for me. I have one last final exam at my current school before moving to Louisville, KY in a few weeks to transfer to Southern (Baptist Theological Seminary). I’ve been wheeling-and-dealing on Craigslist like Donald Trump with better hair, placing ads selling furniture, motorcycle gear, and other stuff we’re not taking with us. I’ve also been evaluating moving company estimates, which are a fascinating studying in reducing everything you hold dear to total weight and cubic footage. Right now my life’s possessions are as precious as 3,500lbs in 650cu.ft., and some very shady companies have eagerly bid to haul them…somewhere.
It occurred to me a few days ago though that for all that activity the one thing I wasn’t terribly busy with was taking care of myself spiritually. Yes, I continued to read my Bible and spend time with the Lord, but not with intensity. Not with earnestness. Not with necessity. When I got alone again with the Scriptures I found the diagnosis: a misplaced mind.
No, I didn’t lose my mind (I don’t think) but I did misplace it. The same thing happened to Peter. Right after the Lord told him and the other disciples that He must go to Jerusalem to suffer and die, Peter rebukes the Lord and, in turn, gets rebuked:
“Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (Matthew 16:23, emphasis added).
The amazing thing is, for all the many times I’ve read Matthew’s account, I have no recollection of seeing that last sentence. If you had told me it was there I would not have believed you. But it is. And that’s when I saw that Peter wasn’t the only one guilty of misplacing his mind on the things of man.
I know you are pressed for time, so I won’t keep you; but if you were to take a prayerful minute to go to the Lord and ask Him about where your own mind is set today, what would He say? Notice too that the Lord says it is a constant action, “setting your mind on the things of God”. Have you also been misplacing your mind on the things of man, and not the things of God? It’s easy to do. Think through some of the areas of your life: Your relationship with Him, with your family (including your church family!), in your work and responsibilities… Take a mental walk through your waking moments’ interactions. What are you intensively interesting yourself in? (That, afterall, is the meaning of the word for “setting” used here.)
Just one sentence of the Lord Jesus—like the one above—can cut us to the quick (Heb 4:12). Thankfully, God’s Word always brings prescription and healing for those who will hear it. In Colossians Paul echoes the Lord when he says, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (3:2). Immediately after he says that Paul prescribes how we are to go about setting our minds on those things that are above:
- Remember the truth of the Gospel in your life (v3)
- Recalibrate your perspective from earthly things to eternal things (v4)
- Remove sin from your life (vv 5-9)
- Be renewed through Christ (vv 10-16)
- Then be rejuvenated in your service for Christ (v17)
Maybe you needed this word like I did. I hope it blesses you.
…You don’t happen to need a dinette set, do you?