Colossians 3:1 "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory."
At this point I wish I had a white board. I would draw a line dividing the white board in half. On one side would be you and I. On the other side would be God. Below you and I I would write all the characteristics and behaviors that damage us. Attitudes and addictions that destroy us. On the other side under God I would write all the beautiful characteristics that bring happiness and hope and healing wherever you find them. Joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, temperance etc...
When someone is going through a horrible ordeal (like say being thrown into a nasty prison unjustly) and while there they are bringing encouragement to you it might be a good idea to discover the source of their inspiration. Here is what Paul wrote to the church in Philippi from prison:
4:6 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things."
Some of those in the church who have persuasive reasoning might try and convince you that meditation is evil and of the devil. They will add it's avoidance to their long list of things you must be doing and not doing in order to be "good enough". However the Bible speaks much about meditation. The problem with our minds is not that we meditate. The problem is what we meditate on. When we rehearse any of the following big four as I like to call them we are in trouble. Here they are:
1, What is wrong with me
2, What is wrong with others
3, What I have done in the past
4, What others have done or are doing to me.
If any or some or all of these subjects are what you meditate on your mind is literally a black hole of despair. There is no light or hope in any of that. If we come back to the white board we can add two words. On God's side the word Light and on our side the word Darkness. We become what we look at.
Set your mind on things above. This is a deliberate choice. It requires repeated effort. It is literally a war. Let me give you three practical tips to help you with this:
1, Start your day in the Light. Start it with God. Make sure the first imprints on your mind in the morning are positive life giving things to think about.
2, End your day in the exact same way. Your mind never sleeps fully and it is particularly active as you are falling asleep and as you are waking up. Your dreams are largely made up of random bits of info your mind has collected through the day. You are far more likely to wake up with Jesus on your mind if you went to bed with Him on your mind.
3, When dark thoughts invade your mind during the day (it will happen) have something to replace them with. You know when a song gets in your head and you can't get it out? The reason you can't get it out is because you fixate on it. The most effective way to kick that melody to the curb is to choose another song and sing it. Thoughts are the same. Sing dark thoughts away or meditate on an uplifting thought. Fight the fight with good things. Set your mind on things above.
We'll explore this more tomorrow...