Mind Setting - January 19, 2023
Thursday, January 19th
Devotional written by Pastor Dick Thompson, Seasoned Adults Pastor
To read today: Romans 8:3-11
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
Christian philosopher Dallas Willard said the one radical human freedom we possess is our ability to choose where we will focus our minds. We decide where we will “pay our attention.” Companies wanting to sell us products and services understand how valuable this is, which is why some 808 billion dollars were spent globally in 2022 using clever and powerful tools to discern where we will set our minds. We are now very aware of how our tech devices are designed to engage and keep us in their thrall, even while reporting our “screen time!”
But the apostle’s word for “set their minds” means more than just where we focus our attention. The word Paul uses here, phronema, refers to our way of thinking. Brain science backs this insight up with research that shows what we pay attention to causes neural pathways to form in our brains. Thus, minds set on the “flesh” means minds patterned according to “this is all there is” thinking. Flesh thinking cannot see a way around our most fundamental problem; the evil and sin that wreaks havoc in our lives and world. But by God’s grace, there is another way of thinking available to us according to “the things of the Spirit.”
There are many ways you can set your mind on the things of the Spirit that, over time, become patterns of mind and habits of the heart: regular worship, daily reading in God’s Word, the practice of prayer and meditation, and noticing the needs of others and finding ways to meet those needs. All these things are good for the soul (read Romans 12-14 for more).
Mind setting begins the moment we awaken from sleep. Try what Dallas Willard practiced. Before you get out of bed, say the Lord’s Prayer. As you come to “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth…” swing your feet onto the floor and add, “right here.” Then finish the prayer.
Try this once. Try it twice. You will begin forming a new mindset on this day and all the days that follow.
Lord, by Your gentle Spirit, renew my mind. By Your grace, I choose to set my mind on You and Your coming kingdom. Help me into Your way of thinking about everything.