You shall love the Lord your God withal your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind. Luke 10:27
This was the answer Jesus gave when asked about the greatest commandment. Basically we need to love God with our total being; heart, soul, mind, strength; the whole package of who we are. I would like to focus on one of these, the mind.
Peter tells us we are need to be ready to defend what we believe in, “and always be ready to give a ready defense” (1Ptr 3:15). We need to be able to make a positive argument for what we believe as well as defend against negative attacks. In order to do this we need to have knowledge about what we believe and to gain that knowledge we need to study.
What are your study habits like? Do you read you bible or your devotional so you can check it off your to do list and get on with your day? I know I have. It has been much more rewarding to take the time to really study what I am reading. There are so many resources available to use today. Highlighting passages that jump out at you, taking notes, a variety of great book on various aspects of theology and Christian living. You may even have a mentor or other more mature Christians you can ask questions. Whatever resources that are available to you, take advantage of them.
We are also told by Paul to take our thoughts captive “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). This helps us avoid falling victim to the attacks of the devil. The devil assaults our minds again and again hoping we will start believing the lies. Believing the lies fills our heart with the wrong things and it is a matter of time before we start speaking the lie, “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34). From there it goes downhill, Jesus promises us that what we believe in our heart and speak with our mouth will come to pass (Mk 11:23).
So we can see how important it is to guard our thoughts. This requires determination and energy. Spending time in God’s Word and filling our mind with the truth found there renews our mind, gives us strength and energy to resist the lies and take our thoughts captive. If our heart is filled with truth we can only speak good things.
Obviously this goes beyond the time we spend reading our bible and daily prayer. We need to be ready all the time. Actually studying what we read gives us information we can take with us throughout our day. It sharpens our mental muscles, engages our intellect. It also gives us something to discuss with God whenever and where ever we are.
Prayer is so much more than just giving God our current wish list. Prayer is communing with God, praising Him and thanking Him for who He is and what He has done for us. Prayer is also the act of reflecting on our lives and communicating our experience to God. One of the great things about prayer is that we can do it any time we want, not just at a specific time of day. Look for time throughout your day to pray, talk to Him about what you are feeling about a given situation; thank Him for something, anything! Talk to Him as if He is your friend because He is.
The Christian life is supposed to be a deep, mysterious and meaningful experience. Make it a daily practice to take the time to learn God’s truths and apply them to your life. Step up to the challenge of a healthy habit that will lead to intellectual and spiritual growth and culminate in spiritual maturity.