“Where do the conflicts among you come from?” (James 4:1)
Our minds are truly amazing and they have the ability to do incredible things. They can imagine, reason, choose, solve complex problems, imagine new ways of doing things or new possibilities and to enjoy the world around us. Our minds are an incredible gift from God and we often forget that.
If we look at the Bible however, we are also reminded that because of sin, our minds also have a darker side to them. Sometimes that darker side can cause us to do and say things that hurt others. It is like there is a war going on inside our minds between darkness with things such as jealousy, selfish ambition, envy and more and then the light side which can have elements of purity, mercy, humility and so on.
If you read Mark 9:30-37 you will see where the apostles were fighting about which of them were the greatest of the group. You can imagine Peter saying “Jesus told me I was the rock.” and you might hear John saying, “But Jesus called me the beloved apostle,” and Andrew might have chimed in saying “Don’t forget, I was the very first apostle to give it all up and follow Jesus. I’m the one who has been here the longest and have been waiting the longest.” Sure, it’s sounds sort of silly, but stop and think about how many times we’ve been guilty of similar conversation or thoughts?
James tries to tell us in Scripture that we seem to have a tendency to let our minds roam wherever they want to go. If we don’t keep a watch on our minds, then they can wander into the darker areas of our hearts and start conjuring up all kinds of self-centered thoughts.
But, we can learn to keep watch on our minds. The first thing we can do is to fill it with thoughts about the Lord each morning when we get up and at regular times all during the day. The second thing we can do is nothing, really. If we fill our thoughts up with Jesus what else should we have to do?
When we fill our minds with Jesus through sacraments, prayer, song and/or Scripture we will see a dramatic change take over us and how we think. What we need to do is to learn to be disciplined about filling our minds with thoughts of Jesus. We need to try and spend a devoted period of time with Him each morning if possible. Ten to fifteen minutes before fully starting our day, then stop every once and awhile during the day to just turn back to Jesus, especially if there is something you are facing that you need for Him to help you get through. There is nothing wrong with asking Him to jump in and take over. By doing this over and over again you will eventually begin to see that dark side of your mind begin to melt away.
“Jesus, help me say no to every temptation to sin.”