Keeping your mind on God or “setting your mind on things above” is tough, but tough doesn’t mean impossible. If you’re struggling to keep your mind stayed on the Lord, you’re not alone.
Even Jesus’ disciples, who were with Him all day, struggled with this.
We’re going to use their stories and Jesus’ replies, to learn why you and I are supposed to keep our hearts and minds on things above.
Before we get to the disciples we’ll explore Colossians 3:1-4 to learn what we can about this mindful Christian behavior of keeping your heart and mind on God.
After all, there are a lot of other things to think about and fill your mind with, right?
Here’s the PDF with today’s Bible study questions: Stayed on God
What is “Setting Your Heart & Mind?”
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4
Answering the what behind setting your heart and mind on things above is pretty easy.
It involves setting your heart on God’s priorities and striving, each day, to put them into practice.
Setting your mind is concentrating, or being mindful, of the eternal and not the fleeting things of the world.
Not just a “longing for” kind of hope but mindful attention that affects all you say and do.
Knowing what it means isn’t enough though.
Setting your heart and mind on things above requires
- being mindful of God,
- meditating on His Word, and
- filling every part of your life with Him.
But why should you do these things?
Why Should I "Set My Mind?"
The answer to the why question is so so important.
Have you ever smelled cookies as they were baking?
Remember how the smell caused you to begin craving a warm cookie and that craving resulted in you grabbing one as soon as your mom pulled the tray from the oven? Your mind (or at least mine, when mom had put a batch of PB cookies in the oven) couldn’t think of anything except that warm cookie.
You won’t know what to affectionately crave and desire if you’re not filling your heart and mind with the warm cookie called God’s Word.
Granted, God’s Word is way way more complex and desirous than a cookie but…I hope you get the idea.
You set your heart and mind on things above because it’s the goal of your hope. It’s the much anticipated finish line you will one day cross and it’s also your antidote to all temptation.
That means every single temptation, the ones that seem little and the ones that seem off the charts huge, don’t give birth to sin when you’ve fixed your heart and mind on things above.
Fixing your heart and mind ensures you flee temptation and handle all of life the way God asks you to.
Now let’s see how the disciples handled this.
Stilling Life's Storms
This passage is one of the many times Jesus’ disciples struggled keeping their eyes on Him.
Up until this point, they’d seen Jesus do all kinds of miracles so they knew what He was capable of and had also heard Him teach about prayer and worry.
Yet here they were, in a boat with Jesus, and panicking.
Their hearts and minds were fixed on one thing only – the furious storm. Jesus was right next to them, sleeping in the boat.
Did they keep their eyes fixed on Him? Nope.
Did they remember what Jesus had said about worry? Nope.
Did they remember to pray? Nope.
They only saw the storm and feared they were going to drown.
What’d Jesus do?
“He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” Matthew 8:26
- What storm(s) are you currently in?
- Do you believe God can and will calm the storm you’re in?
- What needs to change so you’re setting your mind on things above and not on the storm?
Once again, the disciples are on a boat but this time Jesus wasn’t with them.
After a long day of teaching and feeding 5000 people, Jesus needed a little time to refuel. How’d He do this?
By spending time in prayer.
After refueling Jesus decided to rejoin His disciples. Problem was, they were on a boat in the middle of a lake.
From a human vantage point that’s a problem but from God’s viewpoint, it’s no problem at all.
Jesus had just spent time focusing His mind and heart on things above.
He knew He was the Son of God and He knew He had command over the wind and the waves.
So He just walked to the boat.
No big deal, right?
Well, it terrified the disciples (the same ones who knew they weren’t supposed to be afraid).
But there’s more than just fear in this story, there’s faith.
When he kept his eyes on Jesus, he wasn’t afraid and he was able to walk on water but as soon as he looked at the whipping wind he began to sink and cried
“Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught Him. ‘You of little faith.’ He said, ‘why did you doubt?’” Matthew 14:30b-31
- What fear(s) or impossible things are commanding your attention right now?
- What do you believe will happen if you focus on Jesus and not those things?
God’s got it.
Keep your heart and mind focused on Him and watch what He enables you to do.
This is a story that’s often only partially known.
The known part is Jesus’ line about mustard seeds.
Earlier Jesus sent the disciples out telling them they had “authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” Matthew 10:1b
Fast forward and we find them wondering why Jesus was able to rebuke the demon and heal the boy and they weren’t.
Jesus told them
“Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20-21
What Jesus was telling them, and you and I, is that you’ve got to keep your eyes on God. Your faith isn’t what heals or fixes anything.
The power of God is what moves mountains.
Mountains of sickness and disease, mountains of marital problems, problems with work mountains, rebellious kid mountains, lust and sexual sin mountains, mountains called stress, anxiety, and worry.
You get the idea.
Anything that tempts you, anything that’s a sin in your life, anything that’s a burden, worry, stress, or problem, everything is overcomable by the power of God.
- What mountain(s) are you currently facing?
- What do you want God to do?
- Do you trust that no matter what God does, it’ll be for your good?
- If He says, “no, I’m not moving the mountain but I’ll climb it with you” do you trust Him to do that and will you joyfully climb it with Him?
Wow! Setting your heart and mind on things above is super important.
When you choose to set your mind on God all day it
- calms storms,
- makes the impossible possible, and
- moves mountains.
But knowing these things isn’t enough.
Setting your mind on God requires effort and determination. Satan doesn’t want you focused on God ‘cuz he knows that when you are, he’s lost all hope of derailing you.
If you didn’t read or listen to our last posts on meditating on God and praying without ceasing, go back and listen to them.
- How to Mindfully Reduce Stress with God’s Word
- Meditating on Gods Word – A walk through Psalm 119
- 5 Practical Ways to Meditate on Gods Word
- Praying without Ceasing – Your what, why, & how-to guide
Then, I’m challenging you to make a plan for how you’re going to be mindful about keeping your mind stayed on God.
- When, each day, will you spend time meditating on God’s Word?
- Which of the pray without ceasing how-to’s will you put into action?
- What will you do as soon as temptation, sin, or anything that doesn’t line up with God’s Word shows its ugly little face?
Having a proactive plan is key to ensuring your mind remains fixed on God, no matter the curve ball life throws.
Lord God, I ask you to show Your strength to each of these women. That they would be hyper aware of Your power working in and through them as they keep their mind and heart focused on You. May life changing testimonies boil over in each woman’s life. Give them amazing Stones of Remembrance as they set their heart and mind on things above. In Your Name and always for Your glory, amen.
Until next time...
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3