Our days are filled with ‘must-do’s’, ‘want-to’s’, and ‘like-to’s’. These can disrupt our thinking and dis-align our focus. It does not just distract our focus from what we really ought to do, but also from our spiritual focus. We occupy our minds with so many other things, leaving little or no place for the things of God. Sometimes we recognize this and try to get back in line with God. But often we don’t even realize we have drifted away from our spiritual focus, simply because our daily tasks are so demanding. In either case, it is good to take stock of our spiritual heritage occasionally. We do this by asking questions. Do we still focus on God, or has He become a side-product in our lives? Do our minds wander away from God and concentrate on our daily worldly commitments? Or simply said, “Are we setting our minds on the things above or the things of the earth?”
This may seem like a simple question, but it is not. Setting our minds on God is not a onetime event, it is a daily commitment. We need to remain alert. I would say twenty-four hours a day. Why? Because if we don’t do that, our minds will wander off. Deciding to set our minds on God is relatively easy, doing it is another thing. I recognize that. It is easy at the outset, but to continue takes efforts and grace.
In His Word, God tells us to set our minds on Him, on the things above:
“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”Colossians 3:2 (NKJV).
What do scriptures say about focusing our minds on God?
God created our minds beautifully complex. Our minds enable us to be aware of the world and our experiences, to think, and to feel; it harbors our consciousness and thought. We need our minds to perform our daily activities and to get through the day. However, the way we use our minds influences the way we feel and perform and can decide on whether our days will be ‘good’ or ‘bad’. It is therefore vital to keep our minds in control and aligned with God and His Word.
So, what guidelines does God give in His Word?
The topics we think about
God is interested in the topics we ponder in our minds. He gives clear guidelines for what we should think about. Not out of a control-obsession, but because He loves us. He knows what is good for us. Our thoughts can touch on so many topics! But not all are beneficial. Most of our thoughts are not helpful for us if we should leave it to our minds, because our minds wander off most times. God’s Word helps us and tells us what to think of. If you are not sure whether your thoughts are in line with what God wants you to think about, compare it with God’s Word:
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”Philippians 4:8 (NLT).
Pursuing Him with our minds
God wants us to pursue Him. Meaning, He wants us to desire Him, follow Him, and chase after Him. One way to do that is to think about Him, His Word, and His works. Seeking the things that are above is pursuing Him with our minds.
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.”Colossians 3:1 (NKJV).
When we set our minds on earthly things, we deceive ourselves. After all, every earthly thing will vanish and come to nothing. When we think of the things of Heaven, our minds focus on eternal things that cannot disappear. This way, our thoughts are protected.
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”Matthew 6:19-21 (NKJV).
The person we should focus on
We can focus our minds on ourselves or on others. In either case, it won’t help us much. It just occupies our minds with thoughts about people. Rather, God directs us to think about Jesus; He tells us to keep our eyes fixed on Him. Fixing our eyes on Jesus means focusing on Him and concentrating on Him. Our minds will automatically focus on Jesus when we think of Him. Doing this is not just a directive from God, but it also enables us to run our race with endurance and gives us stamina.
“And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”Hebrews 12:1b-2a (NLT).
How to set our minds on the things above?
So, we figured out that God wants us to think of heavenly things and have godly thoughts. We are humans. How can we think godly thoughts?
- Remove old thoughts from your mind. Before endeavoring to think godly thoughts, we must empty our minds from all other thoughts, because a cup that is already full cannot become fuller.
- Reject new negative thoughts, even when they trace back to real occurrences and situations in your life. Do not let them in.
- Refill your mind with God’s thoughts. Think godly thoughts and continue thinking godly thoughts to keep your mind on track and focused on the things above.
Benefits of setting our minds on the things above
Our God is a good God. He doesn’t tell us to do things that would turn out wrongly for us. He always has the best in mind for us. The same it is here. When we set our minds on the things above, we will reap benefits. Godly benefits.
When our minds are fixed on Jesus, we have peace. If there is something I long for in these chaotic modern days, it is peace. Peace of mind is a desirable treasure, and exactly that is what God promises when we set our minds on Him.
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV).
Besides the treasure called peace, we will receive life when we set our minds on the things above. When we are spiritually minded, we open ourselves to receive life and peace. Remember, when God gives life, He gives it more abundantly (John 10:10) to live a satisfying life.
“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”.Romans 8:6 (NKJV).
Another precious benefit of setting our minds on the things above is light. When we fix our eyes on Jesus, His light fills us.
“Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light.”Matthew 6:22 (NLT).
When we lay off every sin, and every negative and wrong thought, everything that weighs us down, we will receive endurance to run the race. To run the race of faith and the race of life. How do we receive that? By keeping our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”Hebrews 12:1-2a (NLT).
Thank You, Lord, for creating me with a complex mind. I know my mind enables me to think and feel. Teach me to focus on You and don’t allow my mind to wander away. Help me on how to focus on You, Lord, and how to set my mind on the things above.
I am grateful for Your Word, that guides me and enables me to run the race of life with endurance. I submit my thoughts and feelings to Your Word. Lead me and guide me, every day of my life, every second of the day. It is only then that I will have peace. I open myself fully to You and am determined to keep my eyes on Jesus. I receive strength, wisdom, and endurance to continue to keep my mind fixed on You. And I receive all the benefits that come with it.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen.