I sat across from her - she is young, she is talented, loving and living life to the full, but somehow when we sat across each other from dinner tonight, we hit upon the fact that we both think way too much.
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things, Paul wrote in Colossians 3.2 Learn to think God’s thoughts after him. The whole notion of thinking God’s thoughts after him has me riveted! Of course, it is the ultimate in thinking. After all, God is omniscient—he possesses all knowledge, he knows everything perfectly and eternally—all things which can be known, past, present, and future …
Where to start with learning to think God’s thoughts? Hmmm… well, let’s think about it. First of course would be our acknowledgment that, as he said, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Beginning with the understanding that he is God and we are not, we put the highest value on his thinking and ways, and we earnestly desire to know them. As one very intelligent person said, “I want to know God’s thoughts… the rest are details.” Who said that?2
In the beginning, God … and since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.3 Ponder, study the Creator, who he is, and what he is like. I said to my dear friend, Heidi, the other day, as we were remarking about the beauty of God’s handiwork, particularly as we were looking at birds and colorful flowers, “If someone were to paint these colors God used in this flower, we would think he took license!” Friend, look closely at the intense color of an orchid or lily, breathe in the fragrance of a gardenia, take time to note the array of colors in the sunset over the water … the mind of a brilliant Creator spoke them into being.
How to know God’s mind? Get to know his Son. Think of the love Jesus taught and modeled as we just studied through the pages of John’s gospel. Think of the strength and courage of Jesus Christ, and the brilliance of his mind. How to know God’s thoughts? Read the printed Word of God—his love letter to us, and communicate with him—pray. Talk to him, and ask him to speak to you. Listen. Create space for him to inhabit with you. Long to feel his presence. ‘He will be found by you when you seek him with all your heart.’4 Set your minds on things above . . . by seeking to think God’s thoughts after him for they are the highest of thoughts.
Setting your mind on things above takes training, and training of any kind that is worthwhile is hard work. People will train for two years to run a marathon, though it seems training our bodies is much more popular in our culture than training our minds, (particularly toward godliness). Paul did not back away from the challenge: “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should…”5
To be sure, training the mind takes discipline, but the effort is more than worthwhile! Setting our minds on things above isn’t overly complicated, but it is a discipline, and will need to be cultivated and refined. I love the word and the notion of discipline, because it paves the way for us to become who we were meant to be.
So set your mind on things above...
1 – Isaiah 55.8-9; 2 – Albert Einstein; 3 – Romans 1.20
4 – Jeremiah 29.13; 5 – 1 Corinthians 9.27