Did you know that your thoughts produce proteins in your brain? What we think about becomes physical matter that has a powerful effect on the design of our brain. Before we had the science to show the significant impact of our thoughts, the Bible has taught us the importance of setting our minds on things above, not on earthly things (Col. 3:2).
In the book of Colossians, Paul is writing to a group of new Gentile believers. To set the stage, the church in Colossae was recently planted at the time of Paul’s writings. Outside voices were starting to distract from Gospel work. To refocus the church’s attention, Paul sets the tone of the letter by reminding the church who Christ is in Col. 1:15-20. After establishing Christ as creator, ruler and sustainer, Paul implores those who “have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1).
Rom. 12:2 reminds us that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. When Christ is the focus of our thoughts, our actions follow. In this passage, Paul is teaching the church what the Christian life looks like by contrasting our earthly nature with a life hidden in Christ. The contrast is so great that Paul urges the church to put to death what belongs to our earthly nature, our old self, and to put on the new self. We no longer have to live (or think) the way we used to. Col. 3:10 says, “You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator.”
To further emphasize the ability to choose the focus of our thoughts, Paul continues to say in Col. 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful.” Whether you are stuck in the mundane or experiencing a great tragedy, often it doesn’t take much to allow a negative spiral of concern and worry to consume our minds. Paul is reminding the church to not let outside thoughts rule the heart.
The word “rule” is described as an umpire. My six-year-old son played baseball this past season. Even in the little leagues, big calls are made by the umpire. When Paul tells the church to let the peace of Christ rule their hearts, the peace of Christ makes the final call on what we choose to consume our minds.
At the Last Supper, Jesus reminds us of where peace is found. In John 14:27, he says, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you.” We can combat reoccurring negative thoughts by setting our minds on Christ and allowing His peace to fill our lives.
Setting our minds on Christ is not an individual task. This is work that must be done in unity with the church. Col. 3:16 says, “Let the Word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” This is corporate work that calls on all believers to participate in allowing the Gospel to dwell richly among us.
At the Oklahoma Women’s Retreat on April 22-23 at Falls Creek Conference Center, we will be focusing on this passage together. The theme “Dwell” will emphasize the importance of meditating on God’s Word. The deadline to register to attend in person is April 1. More information may be found on our website at oklahomabaptists.org/women/retreat.