Our family recently got away to San Antonio where we visited The McNay Art Museum. It’s a beautifully converted mansion built in the 1920s. I was drawn to one of the rooms, a bright space that looks onto a garden, where I sat lost in thought until I had no idea my family had moved on without me! Either way, I left feeling so recharged.
If staring at beautiful things for a few minutes can lift your mood, focusing consistently on beautiful ideas– God’s ideas– can change your life.
Here’s a scripture that comes to mind a lot. Isaiah 26:3 in the Amplified says: You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in you.
We really need that peace because it’s a war out there. Since the mind is the gateway to the soul and spirit, then it’s the main place the enemy attacks us with lies that try to bring us down. Here are 3 ways to strengthen your mind so you can stand firm in every battle.
- Focus on spiritual things. Romans 8:6 tells us that to be carnally minded (or ruled by our senses) leads to death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Part of the carnal focus centers on yourself, your desires, your plans, you, you, you. It’s the opposite of focus on God. That person ignores God and what He is doing, and God isn’t pleased.Look upward and outward. Make your thoughts pass th0rough the Philippians 4:8 filter: If there’s anything true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy, think about that instead.
- Guard against offense. The Greek word translated “offense” in the New Testament is scandalon. Think of the word scandal. It’s was the word used to describe a movable stick with a snare to catch animals. Offense can catch you in a trap and tear up your peace. It comes when someone wrongs you, or maybe you just have unrealistic expectations or a sense of entitlement. Whatever the cause, the remedy comes when we love God’s Word, and put it first. Psalms 119:165: Great peace have those who love Thy law, and nothing shall offend them.
- Forgive. Nothing will wreck your peace like bitterness. Jesus says in Mark 11 that whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you. 1 John 2 says if you hate your brother, you won’t know where you’re going because the darkness has blinded your eyes. So don’t wait for an apology. Turn on the light, and just forgive. It doesn’t approve what the person did, but it does set you free from carrying that burden on yourself.
When we go to a museum, we want to view works of beauty, color, and skill, not works that are ugly and disturbing. So rearrange your thoughts in the same way. Take down the negative works the devil made. Throw those out, and display the new and gorgeous ones painted by the Master. Renewing your mind takes constant maintenance, but the rewards affect everyone around you, and they last forever.