It’s bound to happen. From time to time we encounter something so forthrightly and completely contrary to the Christian worldview that it almost takes your breath away. It shouldn’t be a surprise, but the boldness of it is staggering and quickly reminds us that we are “strangers and exiles on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13).
For me, this happened on Monday. I was in a hallway at the Jefferson County Human Services Department waiting for the boys’ visit with their birth mom to end. In the hallway are a couple of offices for social workers. I’m not sure what their responsibilities are exactly, but this particular office seemed to be that of a counselor (or at least someone who refers people to counselors—near the door are several “self-help” brochures to take). To the side of this door is a nicely decorated bulletin board on which are posted many “sayings” clearly intended for people passing by to read. One in particular is prominent, and not only caught my attention, but left me fighting to restrain my shock at the statement.
Here’s what I read:
Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water.
Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup,
you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle,
you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot.
Now water can flow or it can crash.
Be water, my friend (quoted from Bruce Lee).
Empty your mind!?!? Can anything be more unchristian, more unbiblical?
We are those who are told to love our God with not only all our hearts, all our souls and all our strength, but also with all our minds (Mark 12:30).
We are those who don’t passively let thoughts and temptations enter our minds, but instead, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive (in our minds!)to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
We are those who are not to just let our minds go, but are to specifically think about such things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and praiseworthy (Phil 4:8).
We are those who are not to be conformed to this world in its ways of thinking (or not thinking), but instead are to be transformed…“by the renewal of [our minds].” Then we’ll be able to discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom. 12:1-2).
In this sinful world and in our sinful flesh our minds are battle grounds. So much sin is either fought off or given in to due to how we are using our minds! These verses from Scripture make this so clear, as well as 1 Peter 1:13, where the apostle says:
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you
at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he
who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:13-16
Isn’t it powerful to see the connection between our mind and the fight against sin in this text? We’re to be holy as God’s beloved children. We’re not to be conformed to the passions of our former ignorance (passions being a broad word encompassing many sins). And how are we to fight? By preparing our minds for action. Being sober-minded. Setting our hope on what is to come at the revelation of Jesus—which depends on our mind actively thinking upon God’s grace.
Beloved, I’m not worried about you or I hearing the Bruce Lee quote and claiming that as a new mantra for living. However, it brings to the forefront how important it is that we are fully prepared to do battle in our minds—that we would continually arm ourselves with the truths of God’s Word such that we don’t “go with the flow” of the world. This will greatly help us to fight sin and to bring God glory with holy lives.
Let me close with a challenge: I’ve just scratched the surface with how important it is to use our minds as Christians. According to a biblical view of things, in what other ways do you see our minds being vital in our Christian walk?. Or what other Scriptures show the crucial place of the mind?