The things that are on our minds grab our focus. Our thoughts can be great leaders or cruel taskmasters. Our hearts can comfort or destroy us. The heart and the mind are like two ends of an hourglass; inextricably connected, with one alternatively filling the other.

Your mind operates much like tracking radar. Once something appears and is “targeted” by your brain, then your mind, your emotions and your focus draw you towards that target. Your mouth and your actions can be somewhat controlled, and can give an appearance of something that is not actually true. But as a person thinks in their heart, THAT is what they are truly like.

There’s a man in the Book of Proverbs entertaining his guests, inviting them to continue eating and drinking. Outwardly he appears to be the perfect host. Inwardly he is counting the cost. His words are denied by his character, for he is in fact a stingy man. The verdict of the bible is that his heart is not with you.

Today’s verse speaks to a path that leads to inner peace of both heart and mind, because the heart and the mind are both parts of our soul.

Let’s begin with a bit of a lesson of who “we” are. According to the scriptures, we are created in the image of God. Since His word makes it plain that this is true for both males and females, it is not our gender that is the identifying element of our being. It goes much deeper than that.

God’s nature is as a tri-part being; a trinity. He is Father, He is Son and He is Holy Spirit. Each unique, and yet all one. Forever and always all three, and yet indissolubly unified in character and substance. This is a mystery, something that even though we can observe we can never fully comprehend … yet.

In the same way, since we are created in the image of God, our nature is also as a tri-part being. God is spirit, and so are we. Our spirit is the part of us that is re-created in Him when we come to faith. It is the part that was dead, but is made alive in Christ. When our spirit departs our body, that body ceases to operate. James uses that fact as an illustration of a living faith, and says, “Just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” That covers two parts of who we are – spirit and body. The third part that makes up who we are is the part that God breathed into us – our soul.

So, to simplify, let me put it this way ….
We ARE a spirit
We HAVE a soul
We LIVE IN a body

Our current body is not permanent. I sometimes refer to it as our “earth suit,” something we only need for our time here on earth. When we leave it, it stops functioning. The body we get later will be like the resurrection body Jesus had. It’s a glorious body, powerful in ways we cannot even imagine, and will never die.

Our soul is made up of our mind, our heart and our will. You might say a THINKER, a FEELER and a CHOOSER. It is the choices of our soul that allow us to yield to the direction of our spirits. God’s Spirit works in our spirit to lead us and train us. God intends His children to be yielded and led. He says, “All who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” His grace is poured into our spirit, and He leads us into greater holiness as we become more and more like Him.


Let me apply this to make it easier to grasp.

What is the mindset that Jesus had that we are to have, too? Paul describes it as one based upon humility and obedience. Jesus had a rightful claim to all the glories He had in heaven before He came to earth, but He didn’t grasp onto them as if someone were trying to take them away. He let go of everything, and always obeyed the leading of the Spirit. Jesus said that He did what He saw His Father doing; and He didn’t speak on His own, but only spoke what He heard His Father saying.

Led by the Spirit, Jesus chose to listen and obey. Let me plug in the terms I was using earlier, and explain it again. Jesus used His CHOOSER to direct His THINKER and His FEELER and make His BODY act in ways that emptied Himself and allowed His spirit to pass all the glory on to God. That is complete yieldedness; because it affects the spirit, soul and body and gives glory to God.

So Paul teaches us to do the same thing. He tells us that we should not do anything out of selfish ambition or because we think we’re better than everyone else. We are to be deliberate about humility; make a point of counting others more significant than ourselves. We are not only to our own interests, but also – and even especially – to the interests of others. That’s the example that Jesus lived out for us.

The world takes the exact opposite approach. But we’re not supposed to be conformed to this world, but we are to be transformed by the renewal of our mind. As we do that, we learn to discern what is the will of God; and learn what is good and acceptable and perfect. See the parts fitting together? Our THINKER renewed. Our CHOOSER able to discern God’s best choices. Our FEELER emptying itself of all pride and embracing humility. And US – the real and living spirit that we are – bringing glory to God by every word we speak and every action we take.

That’s a recipe for a grace-in-action life directed and empowered by the Spirit of God in us!

So prepare your minds for action, and be sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace of Christ that will be revealed in us.

Do you remember at the beginning of this devotional I said once something appears and is “targeted” by your brain, then your mind, your emotions and your focus draw you towards that target? Now I hope you understand why God tells us to set our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

Let us live according to the Spirit, yielded to the leading of the Spirit, so we will reflect His glory. Bright lights in a dark world.


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