The Standard February 11, 2023
In the early 1980s at Annapolis High School lacrosse, football and basketball games our cheerleaders would chant, “Elevate your mind. Get yourself together.” Although seemingly odd to hear that kind of wording at a sporting event, the cheer has stuck with me. How much control do we actually have over what we think? How would we “elevate” our minds?
In Colossians the Apostle Paul writes, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4)
By actively setting our minds on the things of God, we certainly elevate our thoughts. The opposite would be allowing our minds to become bogged down with the cares of this world– the worries about the future for ourselves, our families and our churches, the stress of performing well, the tension of comparing our accomplishments to those of others, the burden of caring too much about appearances or the indignation of seeing selfish people prosper or gain a platform.
My first youth minister in the early days of computer science used to quote, “garbage in-garbage out.” He would hold an open Bible up to his forehead and tell us it was like a filter. It is amazing how quickly the words we hear in music, on the news, in movies and on television can seep into our minds and have a big impact on how we feel and what we think. Perhaps this would be a good time to take a break from certain things which inflame negative thoughts or moods. With Lent beginning later this month, we might want to consider purging some of the garbage coming into our minds.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:4-9)