NRSV). He also draws the comparison between those who
live as enemies of the cross of Christ as ones whose minds are
set on earthly things with those who are citizens of heaven
(Philippians 3:19–20). In summary, God’s Spirit is able to
recreate our minds. We are active participants in the process.
We have the ability to “set” our minds. There are a few
time-tested ways of doing this: study, memorizing, and
meditating on Scripture are three. These practices, just like
any habit, can feel like a lot of work at first. However, it is
critically important to remember that when it is difficult to
concentrate, God is eager to meet us and is able to clear out
the clutter in our minds in order to help us see and encounter
Him in Scripture. For instance, when I recognized that
sorting my coloring supplies was my way of ordering the
universe, I got honest with God.
What if I were to pick up each colored pencil and with it
recall the great God who in truth is in control of the chaos?
With each colored pencil, I allow it to represent my anxious
thought, and I place them in a stack and release my concerns
to God. I say, “God, with this voltage violet, I remember
Your promise to show Your power, so please come now and
speak peace to my anxious heart. God with this laser lemon,
I remember that You heal, so I am asking right now to come
and heal my friend with COVID-19. God with this battery-charged
blue, I remember that You created a beautiful world
and that, in the end, You will make all things new so start
with my mind right now!”
This kind of recollection, of praying, of meditating on
God’s goodness and greatness brings calm because I know
that I can trust this God.
There are several Psalms that I have memorized, and I’m
grateful for that. At any time and in any place, I can call to
mind how great God is because I have Psalm 145 memorized.
“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; his greatness is
unsearchable. … On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate” (Psalm
I can quickly place my mind on God’s intimate care for me
as I recall Psalm 23. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not
want” (Psalm 23:1 KJV).
While out of bed during a sleepless night, I recall Psalm 16.
“I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my
heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With
him at my right hand, I will not be shaken” (Psalm 16:7–8).
When we have Scripture memorized, we have ready access
to the truth of God at any time. We will find that this practice
bears fruit for our thought life. We will have much to place
our minds on, and, with practice, it becomes natural.
If you are a beginner to this, I recommend that you
immerse yourself in the Psalms. These poems and songs,
present us with the truth about God. We have a mighty,
pg. 16 — lightandlifemagazine.com
glorious, merciful and tangibly present God. We study,
meditate on and memorize these words so that we can have
the mind of Christ. It requires time and dedication. It will not
happen by accident. It may be tempting to give up if we do
not see results quickly.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons that Jesus uses a tree as
an example of what authentic goodness is like. Newly planted
trees need long, slow and deep watering. In a similar way,
those newly planted in Christ need to spend long periods of
time in God’s Word. It is not sufficient to hear one sermon
a week and think that will be all that is necessary. Having
to shelter in place may afford you time like never before to
develop habits of being in God’s Word that life before did not.
Like any healthy habit, practice and more practice are what it
will take to form the habit. Ask God for creative techniques
that fit your particular life.
Banishing the Deceptions
You and I are different from those who are not in Christ.
Minds that are continually being transformed bear fruit in
all aspects of life. Minds that are being nourished by God’s
Word will be able to notice and banish the subtle deceptions
that trap us. Thoughts of how great and good God is results
in minds that naturally return to what is most real and
reliable. If our minds are set on earthly things, we will find
ourselves being anxious, afraid, angry and condemning.
We are orienting our lives on things, money, security and
controlling others. Scripture clearly states that this means
self-destruction (Philippians 3:19).
The opposite is true for those who are in Christ. Paul’s
exhortation to “set your minds on things above, not on
earthly things” will result in a life that is overflowing with
“compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”
(Colossians 3:2, 12).
The qualities that come from having minds set on Christ
make us strikingly different. Imagine what it would be
like if you resembled Jesus in such a way that others were
suspicious of you. What if having such a renovated mind
made you so fruitful in kindness and patience that after an
interaction with you, even your enemy would scratch his
head and say, “I’m not sure that person is for real, but I would
sure like to find out!”+
Roberta Mosier-Peterson, D.Min., is the
lead pastor of the Gerry (New York) Free
Methodist Church. Her Northeastern
Seminary doctoral dissertation was adapted
into “Lived Experience,” a documentary film
covering the ministry experiences of women
pastors. Go online to fmchr.ch/lived for the
documentary and pastortiedye.blogspot.com
for more of her writing.