The Mind Of Man
To truly understand the value of a renewed mind, we need to take a closer look at how the mind works and the critically important role it plays in ordering our daily lives. Our thoughts act as a governor with the power to significantly influence our patterns of behavior. There is a close connection between our thoughts, our emotions, our body’s physiological responses and the actions we take every day. We will address this in more depth at a later time but for now let us say that our thoughts are the key component in determining how we respond to life. Scripture tells us in Romans 8: 5 that the man who lives according to the needs of his flesh is controlled by unholy desires and focuses his mind on the things that satisfy those desires. Compare that to the man who lives according to the Spirit. This man is controlled by the desires of the Spirit and sets his mind on those things that bring honor to God. Clearly the things we focus on influence how we perceive the world and the outcomes we end up with.
When we focus on fear, God disappears. When we focus on God, our fears disappear. When we focus on our fears, our faith becomes weaker. When we focus on our faith, our fears become weaker. The Bible talks about this in many places, in both old and new testaments, but as with any scriptural principle if we don’t apply what we know it does us no good.
We are the ones who have control over that which we focus on. The control center that determines our immediate focus is our mind. But all too often, we forget that important concept and passively fall prey to old patterns of thinking that are deeply embedded in what Paul referred to as our old nature. And so even for many Christians, its often fear and not faith that governs our thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and ultimately our lives.
The mind that is paralyzed by incessant fearful chattering is a prisoner of its own thoughts.
The mind that is preoccupied with the whims of the flesh is unstable and will be pulled in every direction. The mind that has trouble screening out the attractions of the world is easily distracted and hijacked.
Our lives will not take the right path until our minds do. Many of the maladies we suffer from like depression, anxiety, guilt, and uncontrolled anger are the result of thoughts gone wrong. Many of those misdirected thoughts are strongly tied to negative and painful experiences from the past. Thoughts generated from these experiences can merge with other similar and related thoughts to create an unholy alliance of destructive mental messages. This is especially true if we have suffered painful or traumatic wounds in the past that have not been resolved. When we entertain these thoughts long enough, they take up residence in our mind. Even worse, these thoughts form associations with other thoughts and emotions through repeated use. These negative thoughts become quite comfortable with their places around the dinner table of our mind and have no trouble expressing themselves clearly and persuasively when given the opportunity. We become so accustomed to these mental messages that we begin to closely identify with them. We begin to believe that these negative thoughts are accurately describing who we really are. It’s as if we are regularly being sent an internal memo with damaging messages about ourselves. If we accept the messages the end result is our lives begin to mirror those exact qualities.