This semester our son Daniel has an internship in which he is working a whole work week over the next several months for an engineering company in Cherry Hill. Daniel rarely gives us any real issues, and what a blessing that the Lord has given him such a brilliant mind, but to be honest, I jokingly always say the Lord filled it with so much intelligence there was very little room for Him to put in common sense.
Daniel was blessed to spend several months touring the country with his grandparents, traveling from Florida, Canada, to Alaska. With that said, he decided to come home only days before starting the internship. I suppose being so used to living in the city that Daniel didn’t think about getting a driver’s license. Thus, now leaving us to help determine how he would get to work. Well, of course, I told him he was on his own for that, only to find myself each morning missing the gym and getting to school just before the kids get there so he can get to work on time. I do not mind doing it, although I am not sure he understands what it entails; I know for our children, there is not much I would not do.
It brings me to this point, that driving him to work alters how I get to school. It was in my travels that I could see traffic beginning to back up; trying to see what was going on, I noticed a huge black cloud of smoke off 295 a reasonable distance away. This was nowhere near the highway, yet it was starting to back up the route. I began thinking about how the thick black smoke pollutes the air we breathe, is catching people’s attention, causing distraction, and realistically causing many people to drive in an unsafe fashion. It amazes me how some black smoke a distance away can draw people away from moving in such a safe fashion, putting others in harm, and causing such a backup. I was reflecting in an attempt to understand the anticipation of some, were they worrying about what happened, was it that the fire harmed some people, did they think it could be someone they know, etc. How quickly the mind can unravel if it is not maintained and focused ultimately causing even more harm on the road they are driving.
I could not help but think about how much spiritual pollution we as believers come across every day and how important it becomes to remain steadfast in our walk with Christ to avoid being distracted, tempted, and wandering away from the path that keeps us safe. With the agents of temptation around every corner, “fires” burning every day to pull our attention away from Christ, causing us to stumble and fall into the world’s chaos, how do we remain clean in a polluted world?
Peter answers this for us in the scripture ,1 Peter 13: 13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
What Peter is saying here, in a sense, is that we must pull our thoughts together, keep our minds disciplined, looking at life in a way that is centered on the return of Christ. A mind and life centered on the return of Christ produces a life allowing one to avoid worldly traps that not only can snare you into sin but also prevent your spiritual growth.
Our outlook often determines our outcome, even our attitude determining our actions. Wiersbe points out that Abraham and Lot can be a great example; Abraham’s eyes were on a heavenly city; therefore, he had no interest in the world’s real estate. However, Lot, who had tasted the world’s pleasures, was making his way toward Sodom; one mindset brought on a blessing while the other obtained judgment.
Peter goes further to remind us that we should remain sober-minded not just off drugs and alcohol but, as Hiebert indicates, “free from every form of mental and spiritual loss of self-control; having an attitude of self-discipline that avoids the extremes.”
When our mind is disciplined and free of spiritual loss or self-control, we remain focused on the things of the Lord. A disciplined mind on Christ allows us to stay steadfast on the path the Lord has set before us, limits the distractions that pull our eyes away from Him and prevents us from colliding with things that cause problems in our lives and harm others.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, my mind can remain disciplined on things above. Through focusing on Christ, I can in a way that reflects a relationship with Christ. However, when I was undisciplined in my thoughts, I was that driver who was stopping and turning, slowing down, and wondering about things causing me to react in a matter that reflected a relationship that depended on me navigating through this polluted world instead of Christ navigating me.
So, I ask, is your mind disciplined or focused on the smoke when you drive by the fire?