We're all familiar with the commandment to 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength' (Mark, chapter 12, verse 30). It's a popular text to be stripped from the Bible and plastered on coffee cups and desktop backgrounds.
The mind is an incredible thing, with no two the same. My own mind is a treasure trove of chaos and emotion, I think in circles with barking offshoots and cartwheeling fireworks, my conversations can leave friends dizzy. A friend's mind is a spread sheet of logic and practicality of processes. They have fewer grey areas in their grey matter. All seems black and white.
It's December. Many minds are streaming with festive concerns. How many weeks of work remaining? Which socks to get Dad for Christmas? Turkey or ham? The mother in law. The Christmas party that we don't want to attend. Whether this is the year that we tell little Joey the truth about Santa and Joel that he was adopted.
It's a hectic time for even the most linear of thought processes.
How can we love God with all of our minds?
A good friend of mine bought me a copy of Elizabeth George's Loving God with All Your Mind recently. It is the best book for Christians that I have read, to date.
It doesn't try to motivate us with empty quotes or phrases but instead instructs readers to use their minds to read, memorise, meditate upon and apply scripture to love God, glorify Him and consequently, see changes in the life of our minds.
George tells of her experience using the truth of the scriptures to train her mind to take each thought captive, changing her thought life and bringing relief from her struggle with depression.
Easy to digest, yet with much to meditate upon, the book encourages readers to love God with their minds by being disciplined with their thoughts. As well as exploring six scriptures it explains how to practically go about applying these truths to our lives to combat worry, despair and discouragement, to name a few.
She encourages readers to question our thoughts, asking ourselves if they are in fact true and real (Philippians, chapter 4, verse 8) and if they are glorifying to God.
Readers are reminded to focus on today and the grace that is sufficient for it (Matthew chapter 6, verse 34), forget the past and press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ (Philippians chapter 3, verses 13â14), trust in His promises (Romans chapter 8, verse 28), look to Him in suffering, bear fruit in hardship (Jeremiah chapter 29, verse 11) and accept the unacceptable, responding to unexpected change in a Godly way (Romans chapter 11, verse 33).
Thinking about our thoughts
I highly recommend this read to help combat anxious or obsessive thoughts, for minds that dwell in regret of the past, sadness in the present or fear of the future. Or just for individuals who think.
Even without the book, we can be challenged to think about our thoughts and if they are glorifying God, helping us to rest in the finished work of Christ or causing us to fall in to fear rooted in pride.
When we're overwhelmed and flustered this Christmas, we can catch those recurring thoughts, holding them captive and asking ourselves, 'Is this true? Is it real? Am I trusting in God's plans for my life in this moment?'
Be encouraged. May the Holy Spirit dwell in you and drive you to examine your thoughts and be obedient in them. And get Dad something other than socks this year, he's sick of them.
Scarlett Jones resides by the seaside and loves reading, films, craft and quality time with friends and family.
Scarlett Jones' previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/scarlett-jones.html