The human brain is one of the most amazing organs in the body. It contains billions of neurons, trillions of synapses, and miles of blood vessels. It controls our sight, our sense of touch, and our ability to speak. It’s the powerhouse behind our emotions, yet it can not feel physical pain. The cooperation of every intricate detail is wholly necessary in just this one small part of our bodies. So much of what we do requires or affects our brains. The mind is not easy to understand, yet even in biblical times it was known that our human bodies have a ‘mind of their own’. In Romans 7, Paul says, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” (7:15)
We have reason and we have understanding, which lead to good intention, but that isn’t always enough for us to do the good we were called to do. Battling with our minds is the hardest struggle we will ever have in our lives because it never really goes away. Our minds are a battlefield for spiritual warfare, and our flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit.
Recently, I watched a sermon preached by Steven Furtick (Elevation Church). The sermon was called ‘Fix Your Focus’ from a series called ‘The Other Half’, (you can watch it here) in which he was talking about relationships. One of the things that he talked about was the idea that whatever we focus on, we will get more of. This is definitely true when it comes to relationships, but I have found that that idea is also true in several other areas like money, jobs, social status, or appearance. Our minds naturally want to focus in on these things because they are tangible and often immediate. It then becomes to easy to idolize the person or thing we are concentrating on. I know the word “idolize” may seem sharp or dated, but I believe it is the best description of these distractions. Idols are anything that take our focus away from the Lord. In biblical times, these were often literal objects made of metals or wood that were to be worshiped. Today, though, idols take a more modern form. From social media to relationships, idols can be anything that we spend an obsessive amount of time thinking of. They direct our minds away from God and the focus of his will in our day to day lives.
This kind of thinking can lead us to believe well-placed lies about our realities. It’s easy to let your thoughts imagine the future. After all, when we are in the present, the future is just imaginary. This is dangerous because although we can’t predict it, we can visualize the best (or worst) situations that could happen in it. We then tend to focus on the future — whether it’s our future spouses, our future careers, or our future finances. It takes away from the present, where God has so much in store for us if we choose to listen to his whispers.
I know that I am guilty of not controlling my thoughts, and often I find myself letting them go too far. I want to encourage you, friends, to habitually practice giving the control of your thoughts over to the Lord. Second Corinthians 10:5 tells us this:
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
This means it will take hard work and persistence to transform our minds and train them, so as we are called, to think pure and lovely things — but we have the power to do it. We have the power to take charge of our minds and give the control to Jesus. I want to urge you today to remove the idols that distract you from spending time with the Lord — whether it be Netflix, social media, or a bad relationship. If you don’t know what your distractions are, I encourage you to ask the Lord to reveal them to you, and I believe that he will. Replace the time you would have spent doing those things with prayer or reading God’s Word. It doesn’t have to be much, but I promise that if you put God as your first thing, you will see a transformation of your mind, your thoughts, and eventually your desires and future. God’s future for you is bigger, brighter, and wilder than anything you could ever imagine.