I am the type of person who needs concrete, practical steps to take in my spiritual walk with God. I have been asking the Lord to reveal to me what my part is, so that I can actively keep my mind stayed upon Him.
Here is some practical application:
1. Know God’s Word! Find the time to read or listen to God’s Word daily, whether it is in your commute to work or on your lunch break. Most of my Bible intake is audio because that is how I learn best. There are many free sites and applications that offer the audio Word and written Word for free. Deception is eliminated when knowledge is present.
2. Did you know we are not always aware of our thoughts? They can hijack our mind and take it to ungodly places unaware. Ask God to search your heart. One way to to recognize this is when we lose our peace.
The Bible says to let the peace of God rule our heart. When that peace turns into fear or anxiety, look at it as a warning alarm letting you know you have wandered off track. It’s time to adjust your setting. Acknowledge and talk to the Lord about it. “Lord, I am losing my peace. In fact, I am anxious right now because I am thinking about my checkbook being in the red. I cast my care upon You. What does Your Word say about my checkbook?” The Lord may remind You that one of His Names is Provider. He may give you a creative idea on how to cut out unnecessary spending. He may give you a scripture verse. Whatever Word He gives you, meditate upon it and confess the scripture out loud until peace enters your heart again. This may have to be done several times in an hour.
3. Live in dependence upon the Holy Spirit; seek His strength in prayer (Matthew 26:41). The biblical definition of weakness is actually- dependent. An individual who is dependent upon the Lord is tremendously strong.
4. If you are well aware that you are being tempted to sin, analyze why you are tempted. Ask the Lord to help you figure out what the root of the sin is. What are your motives? Once you identify what motivates you to sin, pray about the underlying reason. For example, if you lose your temper, the Lord may show you that you like to be in control. When that position is threatened, you react like a cat cornered. Now you have something to pray about.
5. We are not to feed our minds with that which will promote sinful thoughts. We are to guard our hearts—what we allow into them and what we allow them to dwell on. Job 31:1 states, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman” Romans 13:14 states, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” Avoid periodicals, videos, websites, conversations and situations that will be a stumbling block.
6. We are to seek after God with our whole heart, substituting godly pursuits and mindsets for sinful thoughts or habits. This is the replacement principle. You cannot take darkness out of a room, the only way to get rid of it is to bring the light in.
7. Be careful who you surround yourself with. Do not keep company with people who complain and speak unbelief. Do not keep company with people who will tempt you to sin. We should use fellowship with other Christians the way God intended. Hebrews 10:24-25 states, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
I’m sure there are other practical ways to keep one’s mind focused on Christ, but these are a few ways to begin that journey. I look forward to journeying with you!
But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God). (Galatians 5:16 AMP)
Lord, this is quite a promise! Do You really mean if I can learn to walk in the Spirit, I will not succumb to any of my flesh’s desires? I ask because my flesh seems to desire many ungodly things. I sure do hate to admit it, but it’s true.
Well, I know the Lord’s heart well enough to understand that He means what He says and He says what He means. Okay, it seems simple enough. I must learn to walk in the Spirit… until I ask myself the question, “How do I walk in the Spirit?” I cannot see the Spirit or even feel the Spirit, so how do I know if I am walking in the Spirit?
One of the great things I love about the Lord is that He says if we lack understanding, all we need to do is ask. So, I asked. This is what I learned…
Paul states in Romans 8:5 that where a person sets his mind will determine whether he walks “after the flesh” or “after the Spirit.” “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” (Rom. 8:5 [NRSV]). Our thoughts set our course.
Other Scriptures that speak of setting the mind upon spiritual things are: Josh. 1:8; Ps. 1:2; 4:4; 19:14; 57:7; 63:6; 77:12; 104:34; 119:15, 99, 148; 143:5; Prov. 4:23; 23:7; Lk. 6:45; Rom. 8:6; 1 Cor. 2:16; Phil. 2:5; 1 Tim. 4:15; 1 Pet. 4:1
God’s Word, many times, is like a scavenger hunt. Once you discover the answer to one question, another question arises. We know now that to walk in the Spirit, we must set our minds on the things of the Spirit. So, how do we keep our minds from wandering? There are so many distractions!
I like this quote by Michael Cotright. “Just as you train a dog to sit and stay, you can train your mind to stay upon God and His Word. Sometimes you have to physically push the dog’s hind end to the ground at first and say: “sit.” Then you take a couple of steps back and point to the dog and say: “stay.” You do this over and over, day after day, until the dog learns to sit and stay at your command. A dog can learn to sit and stay for very long periods of time with proper training. A trained dog will sit and wait outside a store as his master shops. You can command your mind to stay in the same way. At first it will be quite a task. Your mind is used to wandering. When you train your mind to stay upon God and think His Word you must keep commanding it back to the Word when it wanders. Just like the dog, who at first will get back up and start to follow you, you take your mind back to the Word and tell it to stay put. The key is you must have something to focus on. You must put God’s Word in your mind when it wanders to other things. That means learning some scripture. Memorizing. Retaining. And that means learning to pray and stay focused on God.”
It’s no wonder why the Lord uses so many things we see, hear, taste, smell, and feel every day to remind us of His Word. The Lord likens Himself to seemingly ordinary things we encounter on a daily basis: water, food, light, animals, wind, shelter, etc. Perhaps He is trying to make a way for us to keep our mind stayed upon Him.
One other clue I was given was this particular scripture:
The Lord will keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him, because he trusts in Him. Isaiah 26:3
I never noticed this, but did you read that second part? It says, “Because he trusts in Him, he keeps his mind stayed on God.” That sounds like a person who has walked with God enough to knows he must look at the Lord every moment of every day if he is going to triumph. This is a person who the Lord has proven Himself strong to, and he naturally relies upon and trusts the Lord as he lives everyday life. See 2 Chronicles 16:9
Oh, my God, that I would be such a person.
I seek the Holy Spirit’s help in this. What lesson in life could possibly be more important than to learn how to keep our heart and mind focused on Him?