It was a busy evening of decorating the church for our recent Vacation Bible School when one of the leaders picked up a “Conversation Beach Ball” and decided it was time for a break. She threw the ball to a worker and yelled, “Right hand!” They caught the ball and then read the question that was under the grasp of their right thumb and answered it. The ball was passed to me and the question I read was something like,
What Bible story do you love the most?
Not wanting to take too much time to answer, I thought of one I’d recently been reading in my morning devotions. I said, “The story of Joseph forgiving his brothers.” The group was satisfied with my answer because it allowed the game to continue.
The next day I got to thinking back on our game, and my question in particular, and I was shocked when I thought about how I had responded!
The Bible story that I love the most is the one that has changed my life! It’s the one for which I have a personal relationship with Christ and an assurance of heaven! It’s the story of Christ’s death and resurrection so that my sins could be atoned for! What was I thinking?!
Then it dawned on me – my mind wasn’t really thinking spiritual thoughts at that moment. Of course the story of Joseph is in God’s Word, it is precious and reminds us of the forgiveness we also receive, but how could I not be thinking of the cross where I was saved by the blood of the Lamb of God? I had been busy working and doing my little job and had been more “religiously” minded than spiritually-minded. Hmmm, it reminds me of the Pharisees in Jesus’ day.
In Mark 8 we read that the disciples had just watched Jesus feed the 4,000 with bread and fish. Then the Pharisees come and ask Jesus for a sign to prove He is who He says He is. Jesus dismisses them and shortly after, the disciples get into the boat with Jesus. He warned them to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. Their carnal minds immediately thought He was referring to their forgetfulness to bring bread on the their journey. But no, He was trying to give a spiritual object lesson. The Pharisees’ sin (leaven) was unbelief and they were missing it by not having a spiritual mind.
Each of these examples above – my “religious” answer, the Pharisees’ question, and the disciples inability to understand are all forms of carnal minds. A carnal mind is being preoccupied with other things and not being caught up with the Christ who loves us and came to save us!
I was guilty.
The Pharisees were guilty.
So were the disciples.
Romans 8:6, 7 reminds us:
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God…
The mind that dwells on this world rather than Christ is at war against God. There is no peace – only frustration. Religious efforts – trying to do better or earn our way to heaven, or earn merit with God and missing Christ will bring turmoil. Only when we focus on Christ is there true peace. His sacrifice paid for our sin; there’s nothing we need to do except receive it! (If you’ve never trusted Him as your Savior to get His cleansing and peace with God, go here to read more!)
Then after trusting Christ, He is our life! It’s not that we can’t think of other things – but to be spiritually-minded is to center everything around Him. Have you ever heard someone say, “Don’t be so spiritually-minded that you’re no earthly good!”? I seriously don’t think that is possible. We have to fight our sinful heart to have a spiritual mind.
Being spiritually-minded would like look this: “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:2
- He is the first thought of my morning.
- He is the center of my daily activities.
- He is the Possessor of my finances.
- He is the Planner of my future.
- He is the answer to life’s questions.
- He is the reason for my life.
- He is the joy to my sorrow, the bearer of my burdens and the lifter of my head.
When I forsake Him, I have nothing. I must not do a moment of life alone. I am able by the power of His Spirit, to have a spiritual mind, rather than a carnal one.
I trust this post makes sense – it’s a subject that has really been much in my heart since the scenario of the game occurred. Let me ask – Do you find yourself going minutes, hours or days without thinking on the Lord? We need a spiritual mind to understand all He wants to teach us and do through us. If you struggle with this as I often do, simply ask the Lord to give you a spiritual mind, then obey whatever He tells you to do.
Therein is life. Therein is peace.
Make the connections.