Consider with me the human mind. The mind is different from the brain, but the mind comes from the brain. When we are born the brain can be compared to an empty C.D. disk. There are many things that may be placed on the disk. The empty disk is at the mercy of the user. The same may be said of the mind. There are some who say the mind begins to develop in the womb, but for all practical purposes the mind begins to develop when we are born. Gradually, more and more information is recorded on our disk, and we develop our mind. Our mind will be influenced by our exposure to our friends, our education and many other facets of our journey through life. Decisions are made, and life develops as our mind absorbs information from all sources we are exposed to. If I were to ask you today, “do you have a healthy mind?” what would be your response?
Why am I concerned about the condition of the human mind? Because if you do not have a healthy mind, discipline is needed to control the thought pattern of the mind. Paul comes to this conclusion in Philippians 4 where he says, “…whatever is true, what ever is honorable, what ever is right, what ever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things”. If you stop and consider this list, it will take discipline to keep your mind fixed on these things. Our mind becomes filled with so many toxic emotions. We become angry, anxious, fearful and the list goes on. Paul states earlier in the book of Philippians [chapter two] “…let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…”. He then goes on to tell us that The Son always reflected the mind of His Father. I know how hard mental discipline is because I have had to practice it all my life. It is a tremendous challenge to keep your mind in the right place while we live and are immersed in a culture today that is so filled with conflict.
Viktor Frankl was an Austrian Jew that was part of the Nazi purge in the 1940’s. He ended up in a prison camp. He had his own architectural business and was a successful businessman in Vienna. He shares his feelings and experience in his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”. He was marched into the Gestapo courtroom for interrogation. His captors had taken away his home, his family, his cherished freedom, his possessions, even his watch and wedding ring. They had shaved his head and stripped his body of all clothes. There he stood before the German high command, under the glaring lights, being interrogated and falsely accused. He was destitute, a helpless pawn in the hands of brutal, prejudiced sadistic men. He had nothing. He suddenly realized that there was one thing they could never take from him-he realized he still had the power to choose his own attitude. He could choose bitterness or forgiveness; hatred or hope; determination or self-pity. He chose the positive emotions. He survived the camps and after the war, returned to Vienna to establish Logo-therapy, a worldwide outreach for mental health.
The problem with bad thinking and a mind out of control is that it leads to bad behavior. The book of Proverbs tells us, “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”. In other words, my thoughts determine my actions. All my actions began as a thought in my mind.
I have struggled as much as anyone with control of my mind. I went through a period when my mind sought to control me and wanted to lead me into a downward spiral. During this time, I had what I called panic attacks. My mind would fill me with fear and lack of self-worth. For a long period of time, I carried in my pocket a number of 3×5 cards with scripture verses on them. I had many of these cards, all quoting verses from the Bible, that would re-direct my thoughts. When I was hit with an attack, I would stop whatever I was doing, reach for a card, and slowly, with emphasis, read what was on the card. What was I doing? I was re-directing my mind, to keep it focused on what the Bible said, rather than be consumed with toxic emotions. This is what I mean by mental discipline.
Listen to what Paul says in Ephesians 2; “Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear…. let all bitterness, wrath, anger, and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as Christ has forgiven you”. To practice that takes mental discipline, with the help of the Holy Spirit.
It is not possible to avoid all the mental conflicts that come to us today. Those conflicts come from a huge variety of sources. I think of the story of Joseph in the Old Testament. He is on a mission to bring supplies to his brothers. However, jealousy had arrived between siblings, and as they saw him coming, they decided to sell him to a caravan of traders headed for Egypt. Through a sad series of circumstances, Joseph ends up in an Egyptian prison, alienated from his brothers, all by their design. Yet, years go by, and these brothers come to Egypt to buy food during a time of famine. Joseph had been delivered from prison and was a part of the Egyptian food supply system. As fate would have it, these very brothers, who had sold their youngest brother to a slave caravan, now meet him in a food distribution setting. When his brothers find out that this man, giving them food, is the very brother that they sold to a caravan years before, they fear for their lives. That would only be natural. Bad things that happen in life tend to be a significant part of the development of my mind. However, when Joseph reveals to his brothers that he knows who they are, rather than “paying them back in anger”, says, “what you meant for evil, God has turned into good; I forgive you”.
Perhaps your mind is like a polluted well, full of evil thoughts and fear. Thoughts like this will poison your mind. Romans 12:2 tells us, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect”.
Satan would love to have your mind. He would love to do his work through your mind. God has a better plan and with it, He will give you peace and security.

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