Three Ways to Steward Your Mind in an Age of Deception
There is an old computer programming adage that goes, ‘garbage in, garbage out’. That is, the output of any program is dependent upon the quality of the inputs you start with.
In the past, I found reading through social media posts was stirring up too much frustration and at times, jealousy toward others I admire. After a social media fast and the elimination of some of my personal accounts, I experienced unquestionably positive changes in my attitude and outlook. Garbage In, Garbage Out.
Scripture has much to say about the way we steward our minds. Consider the following.
“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.” Philippians 4:6-7
“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.” Philippians 4:8
“We have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.” 1 Peter 1:13
“The end of all things is near. Therefore, be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.” 1 Peter 4:7
Is your mind ready for whatever God may be calling you to do? Is it guarded by prayer, obedient to Christ, transformed by the Spirit, alert and sober and ready for action?
Here are three challenges for us to steward our minds:
1. Guard it.
Scripture tells us clearly that we must guard our minds. The idea of ‘taking captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ’ creates an image of a strong man examining every thought and literally binding those that are disobedient to the rule of Christ. This is no casual suggestion, it is a call to war against the mental attack the enemy wages on us through television, the Internet and other media. It can come through the people we allow to speak into our lives and the corrosive attitudes we leave unchecked. Stewards treat their minds as precious gifts of God, and they set up clear boundaries for what they will let in and what they will take captive and discard. How are you guarding your mind?
2. Nurture it.
If we keep garbage out, we must also pour nutrients in. Romans tells us our minds must be undergoing the ongoing transformation of the Holy Spirit. How does that happen? By exposing our minds to everything true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable. By immersing our self in Scripture, reading and viewing things that deepen our faith, buoy our spirits and encourage our souls. We strengthen and nourish our minds when we feed on those things that align with God’s truth and engender in us the right attitudes and spirit. You know what that feels like. You are keenly aware when what you are thinking, viewing or hearing is nurturing your soul or corroding your spirit. What are you doing to nurture your mind?
3. Expand it.
Stewarding our mind means exercising it and not isolating it. Our minds are God’s gifts to be invested not insulated. We do not create echo chambers but enter into the spiritual warfare of our age with minds that are ‘sober, alert and ready for action’. We can guard our minds without narrowing them. God does not call us to be ignorant of the world just innocent of its influence on us. We can read other opinions and consider viewpoints with which we may disagree if we have kept a pure spirit and strengthened our minds through Scriptural study and nourishment. Minds that are alert, sober and girded for action can parse the half-truths and deceptions of the enemy without being contaminated in the process. We can have open minds that can be taught, expanded and exercised without letting in the corroding influences that sicken our souls. How are you at exercising your mind?
I encourage you to be faithful stewards of your mind in these three ways. The world needs followers of Jesus who are clear minded, intelligent, uncompromising and well informed. We must be fully engaged in the great debates of our day without allowing the darkness of our days to inhabit a place in our souls. We will do this if we will commit to guard, nourish and exercise our minds as true stewards of this wonderful gift.