THE MIND IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE
Jesus tells us the greatest commandment is to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. In this 5-week series, Pastor Tito will explore what it means to follow through on being a follower of Jesus Christ, looking at how our relationship with God should affect each of these aspects of our life. When it comes to being a Christian, believing is just the beginning. There is more to it than just praying a prayer and attending a weekly service.
This week we learn what it means to love the Lord with all of your MIND
Read the Sermon Summary below
THE MIND IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE
There is power in Godly positive thinking
“Worry is like a rocking chair. it gives you something to do but gets you nowhere”. – Anonymous
I thought I knew what responsibility was. And then I became a parent. I thought I knew what love was until I met my wife and gave my life to God. I thought I knew what sacrifice was. And then I came face to face with the cross. The more I learn the more I realize just how little I know. I’m sure you can relate. But that shouldn’t discourage you, but rather it should motivate you to continue to explore and discover more things about yourself, others, and especially Jesus.
The knowledge of God and of His Ways are one of those topics that make me feel I’ve only begun to scratch the surface on. During my efforts to better know God, I’ve come to learn that God both rewards and welcomes honest questions. This is why I believe that God included the mind as a tool for worship and an expression of love.
If we are to love the Lord our God with all of our mind, we have to be able to address some of our mental issues. For starters, it doesn’t matter how smart you may be, our thinking process will fail us from time to time. I’m certain that you have either heard someone ask you this question or you have asked yourself at some point, “What were you thinking?” That question assumes that a person had acted without thinking everything through, which does happen. But there are times when I had asked myself that question after having rationalized the circumstances in a way that fit my expectations. Because of sin, our minds can be easily manipulated or misguided.
Another problem that we must address is an interesting phenomenon. People have the tendency to remember things they should forget and forget things that they should remember. How many adults do you know that still hold onto painful experiences from even their childhood and been unable to forget and move on? As frustrating as that may be, forgetting something that we should remember is far worse. There are so many precious moments with my wife, kids, family, friends, and even God that I have already forgotten. These issues don’t even begin to address wicked thoughts that haunt us, like depression, loneliness, lust, hate, and unforgiveness to name a few. How is it possible to love the Lord with a broken mind? The Apostle Paul shared some insights with the Philippian Church that could help us better understand how to do just that.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-9
Here Paul is sharing some final thoughts with his brothers and sisters in the faith. He is concluding his letter with some practical advise that will help them to overcome sin and walk in a closer relationship with Jesus. He begins by encouraging them to rejoice rather that be anxious. Being positive is always better than just being negative, but there was more to it than just controlling one’s emotion. Paul wanted to address to issue of being anxious because he knows that worry and fear are two of the most effective tools that our enemy applies on us in order to keep us from following Jesus. Fear can paralyze even the strongest person, and worry can drain the life and energy of the best of us. The seeds of Truth that Paul had previously shared would never take root if these believers would lose on the battlefield of the mind.
Paul reminds that of the reason that they have to be happy, rather than worry and it’s because of Jesus. To say that He is “at hand” is not only to point to His future return but also is a present day description of how close He is. When we find ourselves wrestling with worry, we should get up and go to God through prayer. Paul even outlines proper prayer. Prayer is most powerful when it comes from a place of adoration. When God’s love for you and your love for Him fuels your prayers, your supplications and requests will be more in line with His will.
Many people don’t have a problem with supplications. People are pretty good at asking God for things that they may need or for requests for others, but that is where many prayers stop. Paul makes sure to highlights that appreciation should always follow supplications. When we praise God and pray for ourselves and others, we ought to come to a place of appreciation that God will fulfill His promises. Our hearts should be filled with gratitude that God hears the prayers of His people and will answer them in due time. If you are praying for a loved one to be saved, are you taking time to thank God for the work that He is doing and will do? If not, start today because something incredible happens from our prayers go from adoration, to supplications, and conclude in appreciation.
As we can see, the peace of God will guard the same heart and mind that has a tendency to rebel and wander. I love Paul’s usage of the word “guard”, seeing how he had been accustomed to being guarded by Roman soldiers while under house arrest, waiting to stand trial before Caesar and testify about Jesus. A guards job is to keep whomever they are guarding in place and also safe from external threats. When we pray right, the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds by keeping them better in line with His own, but also it will protect us from attacks that could cause us to doubt everything that we had just prayed about.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-9
Right praying and right thinking leads to right living. It’s important to take time to think about what you think about in a regular basis. For starters, this is a great way to protect our hearts and minds from being manipulated from our enemy. Also, this will help us from allowing wrong thinking to corrupt right praying. It’s not just enough to live out everything that we learn. Our ability to put God’s ways into practice is connected with what is first happening on the inside. Our outward actions are a reflection of our inward attitude towards God and ourselves. We will never see the kinds of results we desire if they are in conflict with each other.
To love the Lord your God with all of your mind means that you take time to focus on who God is, what are His ways, and why you believe in what you believe. The best resource that you can use that can help you with all of the above is found in the Word of God itself. It is there where we can learn the kind of praying, thinking, and living that leads us into a new life through Jesus Christ through the power of there Holy Spirit. This is how we not only can have the peace of God inside of us but also have the God of peace Himself walking along side of us! That is an amazing reason to rejoice, especially when life’s worries begin to tighten it’s grip on us.
Less than a week before writing these words, my grandfather on my mother’s side had passed away. I was close by when I received the phone call that they were about to remove his tubes and that he was about to go into his final moments. While driving to the hospital, I began to worry for my grandfather’s soul. I was present when he accepted Jesus as his Lord and asked Him to forgive him of his sins. But it had been more than twenty years since I saw him pray that prayer. There had been evidence of life change, but there was no Saul to Paul transformation in him. I began to fear for him because I know that there will be people who will one day say “Lord, Lord” and God will turn them away because He did not know them. That is when I began to pray.
I begged God to either give my grandfather enough time to get saved before passing away or give me a certain sign to assure me that when he would take his last breath on earth he would be taking his first breath in paradise. I didn’t want to live with regret of not having shared Jesus enough with him or having prayed enough for him. Also, I didn’t want to live the rest of my life lying to myself that he was in a better place just so I could ease the pain of guilt in my life for any lack of effort on my part. I ended my supplications with praises of appreciation as I began to pull up into the parking garage of the hospital. I thanked God for His faithfulness in my grandfather’s life and for any work that He had been doing that I had not noticed.
As I entered the room, I stood tin front of my grandfather, watching him struggle to catch his breath. Then my mother came up next to me and said, “Did you talk to your brother today?” I said, “No, why?” (He was out of the country with his family on a missions trip during this time). “So you didn’t hear about his dream from last night?”, she says. My eyebrows perked up when I asked her, “What was it about?”. My brother dreamed that he and myself were at a grocery store when he turned and say a much younger version of my grandfather walk in. We talked and overheard him say to the clerk, “I’m going on a trip”. We exited to store together and stepped into a large green beautiful pasture that seemed to stretch out until forever. There we saw my grandmother, his wife who had passed a way a few years prior, sitting on the grass, looking up into the sky. She was beaming with perfect peace and love as she was waiting for my grandfather. My brother threw himself on my grandmother, and we all just sat there for a moment. That is when my brother woke up. He had this dream the night before my grandfather passed, not knowing that he was in critical condition because he had’t taken a turn for the worst until the next morning.
Needless to say, I couldn’t keep my composure as I stood next to my grandfather in his hospital bed, holding his hand. I had peace in my heart after praying for him earlier. But at that moment I felt the God of peace hold my hand ash I held his. That’s when I knew everything was going to be ok.
In conclusion, let my experience motivate you to go to God, even when you don’t know what else to do. But whatever you do, don’t allow being anxious to rob you of life. Worry is a sin that you don’t have to worry about because of Jesus. He is closer than you think. Get up from your rocking chair of worry, and watch the God of peace lead you into a better life.