Admittedly, this Scripture is an odd lead for a Monday morning. And yet, as I sip on my decadently creamy pour-over coffee made with freshly ground beans, I can’t help but think it might just be a little appropriate. The season of Lent is upon us, and for many, this involves rethinking some everyday practices and lifestyle choices. The goal of Lent, of course, is to engage in disciplines that will help us grow closer to Christ. It is a period of intentional diminishment, where we seek to identify and change those behaviors and attitudes that keep us from fully living into the person God created us to be. Lent is about demoing the house, assessing the foundation, and renovating from the inside out.
However, as with New Year’s resolutions, many of us struggle to fully commit to the process of Lenten renewal. We have great intentions, but the intentional practice of faith development gets superseded by life’s demands, our own personal issues, and a lack of desire to truly change. Like the believers Paul writes to, our minds get set on earthly things.
This weekend, after obsessively following coverage of the coronavirus all week, I felt an intense need to go to the grocery store to “stock up” on items. I elbowed my way through the melee that is suburban grocery shopping on a weekend then stopped in the near-empty condiments aisle to consider what I needed to stock up on. Do you know what came to mind? NOTHING! Truth be told, we always have a supply of beans in our pantry, our medicine cabinet has a plethora of cold and flu supplies, and a previous bout of the stomach but meant we still had plenty of disinfectant on hand. I needed nothing…and yet, because I had allowed my anxiety to take control, I was trapped in the midst of grocery store chaos instead of enjoying the beautiful sunny weather outside. I missed an opportunity to spend some time relishing the glory of our Creator God because I set my mind on my anxiety, and not God’s goodness. I’m not diminishing situations in our world about which we should truly be concerned. I am, however, suggesting that setting our mind on these issues without first giving them over to God can cause us to dwell in fear and worry instead of in the peace God provides.
Paul goes on to write to the Philippians that, instead of setting their minds on earthly things, they should set their minds on what is:
And do you know who embodies all of these characteristics? Jesus, of course! Therefore, our minds should not be set on earthly things, but on Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith. When we set our minds on Jesus, we have a different focus and perspective with which we can engage the world. Peter puts it best when he writes:
When we set our minds on Jesus, we are ready for action. We can think clearly about the situations and circumstances life throws our way. And, we can hope…completely hope….in Jesus’s grace.
As you begin your journey of diminishment this Lenten season, I want to ask you this question…
Where is your mind set?
Blessings and Peace,