“Set your mind on things above….” How can we do that day to day? What impact will doing so have on our lives?
I don’t know about you, but this week, my mind is full of things.
All the things.
My kids at school.
My friends in Kenya.
Things I don’t know how to handle; others I don’t want to.
My mind races, and my heart hurts with heavy burdens that need bearing.
And, I just don’t know what to do about most of them.
Do you ever feel that way? What am I saying? Of course, you do. We all do!
There are so many questions we face and decisions we must make, and we need wisdom for all of it, don’t we?
The problem is that sometimes I get more bogged down in the details and forget the direction I need. I look at the people around me or at the circumstances that surround us, and I fail to look at the most important thing: Christ.
Today, I was reading Philippians 4 and was reminded of some very powerful truths. I wrote last week about how we should rejoice in all things and be anxious about nothing, but let’s face it: that’s easier said than done sometimes.
The Key is to Set Your Mind on Things Above
Paul commands us to do it in Philippians 4:4-7, but he doesn’t exactly explain how until verse 8, when he writes: “Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.”
I don’t know about you, but I can promise you my mind does not stay on these things all day.
And do you know what? When it strays from truth to lies, I worry. When I focus on what is wrong, I forget to see what’s right.
It reminds me of one of the things my mother always said to me when I was in school and dealing with frustration. I would come home and tell her all about the problem I was having (and whom I was having it with), and she would look me in the eye and say, “Now, Charlie.” (She would draw that “now” out as long as possible for full effect.) “Surely you can find one good thing to say about that person.”
Yes, I rolled my eyes. Every time.
But the truth is Mom had a point straight from Philippians, didn’t she? And, simple as it was, here it is:
Don’t focus on the negative. Find the good, and focus on that.
Now, I hear you. There are some situations in which the good is hard, if not impossible, to find. At those times, we have to stop looking out and look UP.
Colossians 3:1-2 puts it this way: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”Remember: Your situation might not be good, but God is.Click To Tweet
You see, your situation might not be good, but God is.
It might seem like all you hear is lies, but Christ is truth.
He is also full of power, and Philippians 4:21 reminds us that he has “the power that enables him to bring everything under his control.”
Do you hear that today? Everything.
Your situation. The people involved. The absolute outcome.
Set your mind on that and take that hope to heart.
How to Set Your Mind on Things Above
Now, I know that saying we SHOULD set our minds on things above is one thing; actually doing it is another!
Over the years, I’ve found a few simple things that help me focus up not out or in, and they’re all outlined in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, which says:
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
The first thing Thessalonians tells us to do is “rejoice,” but how can we do that during hard times?
The other day, I was discussing a difficult situation with a friend when she reminded me to rejoice because God is working SOMETHING out. We just don’t know what!
God is always at work, and according to Romans 8:28, “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
He is at work all around you and within you, and he does all things well. Rejoice in that fact today!
Second, we have to pray. All the time. After all, remember the promise made in Philippians? When we pray, with thanksgiving, God gives us peace.
I don’t know about you, but I’ll take peace over worry any day.
Finally, we need to remember that there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for; we just have to find it.
It’s really not that hard. I dare you to start a list and see if you ever run out of things for which you should be thankful.
You won’t, and do you know why? The moment you stop to think of another thing to be thankful for, you’ll take another breath and have a reason to rejoice again.
The solutions that help you set your mind on things above are simple, but to do them, we must be deliberate. Think about it like setting your dinner table. You don’t fling a plate here and there, toss a fork and hope it lands where it should.
You SET it.
With intention, with planning, with purpose.
And, when your kids walk through and mess it up, you set it right again.
We have to do the same with our minds.
Steer your thoughts back to things above every time they stray. Train your brain to look for good things in bad situations. And give thanks all the time, even when you don’t necessarily feel thankful.
More often than not, feelings follow faith.
I’d love to hear from you today about how you set your mind on things above and how that practice impacts your life. Share your tips and insights in the comments!