Keeping an Open Mind…

Do you have an “open mind?”

What does that even mean?  That our minds should be a blank canvas?  An open space of which to fill with anything and everything? To be “free thinkers” so as to accept all activity as good according to what each individual desires?

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrases, “Garbage in; Garbage Out”; or how about “If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for everything.”  Both of those concepts come out of what we allow to enter our mind.  Our brain is a masterful creation ~ one that should be taken care of, and attended to, on a constant basis.

I Corinthians 2:15-16 (Amplified version) is very clear when it states, But the spiritual man [the spiritually mature Christian] judges all things [questions, examines and applies what the Holy Spirit reveals], yet is himself judged by no one [the unbeliever cannot judge and understand the believer’s spiritual nature].  For who has known the mind and purposes of the Lord, so as to instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ [to be guided by His thoughts and purposes].”

We are created in God’s image, therefore we have been given the ability to understand the things of Christ when we become Christians.  The reason that non-believers argue so vehemently against God’s Word is actually fairly simple…they don’t understand it.  They have not received salvation, thus they have not received the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit helps us to discern the wisdom of the Lord and of scripture so that we can understand it.  Our brain, our mind, is connected to every part of our body ~ it is the command center for all information that comes in and goes out.  It is essential to keep our mind cultivated with the knowledge and truth of God and of His Word.

If you are wondering why it’s so important to keep our mind healthy, there are so many verses in scripture that encourage us in this manner.

There are over 200 verses with the word “mind” in it ~ here are just a few examples of how God sees the function of our mind ~ which is to love HIM first and foremost:

Deuteronomy 6:4-6,“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one [the only God]! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and with all your soul and with all your strength [your entire being]. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be [written] on your heart and mind.”

Romans 8:5-8, “For those who are living according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh [which gratify the body], but those who are living according to the Spirit, [set their minds on] the things of the Spirit [His will and purpose]. Now the mind of the flesh is death [both now and forever—because it pursues sin]; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace [the spiritual well-being that comes from walking with God—both now and forever]; the mind of the flesh [with its sinful pursuits] is actively hostile to God. It does not submit itself to God’s law, since it cannot, and those who are in the flesh [living a life that caters to sinful appetites and impulses] cannot please God.”

There are only three passages in scripture that I found which talk about having an “open mind”:

Proverbs 8:8-11,“All the words of my mouth are in righteousness (upright, in right standing with God); There is nothing contrary to truth or perverted (crooked) in them. “They are all straightforward to him who understands [with an open and willing mind], And right to those who find knowledge and live by it. “Take my instruction rather than [seeking] silver, And take knowledge rather than choicest gold, “For wisdom is better than rubies; And all desirable things cannot compare with her.”

Luke 24:44-49, Then He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you, everything which has been written about Me in the Law of Moses and the [writings of the] Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”Then He opened their minds to [help them] understand the Scriptures, and said, “And so it is written, that the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance [necessary] for forgiveness of sins would be preached in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.  Listen carefully: I am sending the Promise of My Father [the Holy Spirit] upon you; but you are to remain in the city [of Jerusalem] until you are clothed (fully equipped) with power from on high.””

Acts 17:10-12, The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea; and when they arrived, they entered the Jewish synagogue. Now these people were more noble and open-minded than those in Thessalonica, so they received the message [of salvation through faith in the Christ] with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. As a result many of them became believers, together with a number of prominent Greek women and men.”

I hope you noticed that these passages listed above ONLY talked about having an open mind toward the Lord so that we can allow HIM to fill our mind with the truth of His Word.  And this is in order for us to be able to go out into our neighborhoods, work places, family, or into the world, to share the truth of what God’s Word says…to bring others to the saving grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus.  Never in scripture does it tell us to have an open mind in terms of worldly knowledge and beliefs.

Let’s look at some of the warnings ~

2 Peter 3:15-18,And consider the patience of our Lord [His delay in judging and avenging wrongs] as salvation [that is, allowing time for more to be saved]; just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him [by God], speaking about these things as he does in all of his letters. In which there are some things that are difficult to understand, which the untaught and unstable [who have fallen into error] twist and misinterpret, just as they do the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. Therefore, [let me warn you] beloved, knowing these things beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men [who distort doctrine] and fall from your own steadfastness [of mind, knowledge, truth, and faith], but grow [spiritually mature] in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory (honor, majesty, splendor), both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

In reading the above passage, I’m reminded of sweet Christian mom who I knew a few years ago.  For months, I knew something was bothering her, but knew I couldn’t press her for a response.  Finally, the flood gates of heartache opened and she shared with me, and a few others, that her husband had begun a very quick dissent into the darkness of atheism.  They had once been a strong couple, committed to the Lord in their marriage and in the raising of their family. They were both very active in church and in serving the Lord.

Then one day, her husband came home with a book from a friend.  It was a scientific book that had explanations of earthly phenomenon’s, including events recorded in the Bible.  Her husband was a very logical man, and the more he studied this book, the less he studied the truth of God’s Word.  After 25+ years living as a devoted Christian, he gave it all up because he began to believe that scientifically, Jesus couldn’t have possibly been who He was or could have done the things He claims to have done in the Bible.  And if Jesus wasn’t true, then the Bible wasn’t true.  This process only took about 6 months (from what I can remember).

This woman was broken-hearted.  The man she loved, the father of her children, was now a completely different person.  Someone who suddenly didn’t love the Lord, believe in the Lord, didn’t go to church, and didn’t want to have anything to do with the Christian community.  Someone who began to demean her for continuing to live a life as a Christian, and for taking their children to church.

Week after week, we encouraged our friend to stand firm in her faith and to keep praying!  Our hearts were broken for her as she had to navigate these murky waters, watching her husband sink deeper and deeper into a life devoid of God.  He then began making ultimatums…it was either stay with him or stay with God.

About three months later, the very sad news came that she and her children would no longer be attending church.  Against much advice from her friends and pastor, she decided to appease her husband by reading the book that he’d first been given.  And then she read another one, and another one, and so on.  She had become so fearful of losing her husband, that she instead chose to deny her relationship with the Lord.  She had been a Christian for just about her whole life.  Now she would rather “make her own rules” and “live freely without religion” than stand firm in her faith…in what I still believe she knows deep down inside.

Within one years’ time, this couple who radiated God’s love in their service to the Christian community and within their family, completely and “logically” removed themselves from under the lordship of Christ.  I tell this story to illustrate how quickly Satan can work to destroy the mind that once knew the truth of God’s Word.  How is this possible?  Remember who Satan is…he was created as an Angel of Light, an Angel of Music.  He had a prominent place in Heaven.  But one day, he decided he wanted to be equals with God and began a battle of wills.  He was so influential that he caused a host of other angels to agree with him, and they were all eventually cast out of heaven….permanently.  This is how he knows how to manipulate the mind of others and trick them into thinking that God does not exist.

Romans 12:1-2 is a beautiful reminder of why we must be cautious of what we think about, and what we allow into our mind.  It says, Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].”

How do we renew our mind?  That part is simple too actually…

Be. In. God’s. Word. Every. Day.

~ Every. ~ Day. ~

Blessings,

René

Romans 12 verse 2

**Addendum to today’s blog ~ I was remiss in ending the story I shared above how I did.  Their story is not over.  Prayer is STILL bigger than any lie and deception of Satan!  If you are struggling to regain your faith, or you know someone who has drifted (or run!) away from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, please don’t stop praying for them!  Prayer is the open door for God to work ~ He loves to have us partner with Him in His Kingdom work!  His Word will never return void!**

Isaiah 55:11 declares this truth ~ “So will My word be which goes out of My mouth; It will not return to Me void(useless, without result), Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”

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