I want to deal with how to keep our minds pure. This subject has to do with more than just keeping impure thoughts out of our minds. It has to do with keeping your thoughts focused on the things of God.
In Acts 17:6, the Christians were accused of turning the world upside down. They did this with none of our communications resources, no printed Bibles, and not one book of the New Testament yet written. Why were they able to do this? It was because they were applying the principles we are going to learn today.
To understand this subject, we need to understand the difference between the heart and the mind. First of all, in our culture the heart is the seat of our emotions. In Bible culture the emotions are seated in the bowels, not the heart.
The heart and the mind are very closely related, but they are different. The heart is the center of our being, it is where our thoughts, desires, and attitudes are found. The mind is the channel between the heart and the outside. It is a temporary storage place for things going in and out of the heart.
Everything that goes into the heart has to pass through the mind. We are to meditate on the things of God. Just like the grass that becomes cow has to pass through the process of cud chewing, the things of God get established in our hearts by chewing them over in our minds.
That which is in the heart comes out through the mind. It shows up in our actions, words, and desires.
Before I get into how this all works, and how it relates to keeping our minds pure, let’s look at the commandment given in Romans Chapter 12:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)
The commitment of our whole selves to God is but our reasonable service. Our Lord committed Himself completely to us when He died on the cross. It is only reasonable, because of the mercy God had toward us, that we are totally committed to Him.
In order to do this there must be a transformation. We are not to be conformed to this world. That is to say, we are not to have the same form, we are to be different. We are to be transformed, which means we are to be moved from the form of the world, to the form of a child of God. This is accomplished by the renewing of our minds.
The word “transformed” is translated from the Greek word where we get our word metamorphose. This is what happens when an ugly Caterpillar makes a cocoon and comes out a beautiful butterfly. If the butterfly doesn’t struggle to get out of the cocoon, he will not have the strength to fly. In salvation, we are taken into God’s family made a child of God. If there is no struggle, we also will not have the strength to do what we are to do as Christians, and that is be a testimony for the glory of God.
God has given us everything we need, we just have to exercise it.
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16)
I want you to notice that we have, present tense, the mind of Christ. We have it in two forms. First of all, there is the indwelling Spirit which guides us in all things. Secondly, there is the written Word of God, which is used by the Holy Spirit to guide us in all things.
Jesus had something very important to say about what is in our hearts.
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. (Luke 6:45)
You will notice that it is the treasure in the heart that determines what comes out. The heart is the storehouse of our character. It is where those things that determine how we respond in every situation are stored. There has to be a way to get things in, and to get them out. As I said earlier, the mind is the channel to the heart. It must be used to properly fill the storehouse with good things.
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalm 119:11)
We need to hide the right things in our hearts. We do this by focusing on the right things. Hiding God’s word in our hearts is more than just memorizing Scripture. I can teach a parrot to memorize and quote Scripture, but it will never sink into the depths of his heart. Hiding God’s word in our hearts is more about learning what it teaches and applying it in our lives.
This next verse tells us how this is done, and the things upon we are to focus our thoughts.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
We have a choice to make concerning those things will will consume our thoughts. My pastor used to say:
“You can’t stop a bird from flying over your head, but you don’t have to let him build a nest in your hair.”
Satan can cause you to have wrong thoughts, but you control what you focus on by what you see and hear. When we allow our minds to be consumed with the wrong things, it seeps into our hearts.
What kind of things are important to you? I have seen men who, after an excellent and what should be a convicting message, talking about the day’s ball game withing seconds of the final prayer in a church service. How much time do you spend talking with your family about the message you heard? It seems that most Christians leave a church service and never think about what was preached again. They don’t talk about it, they don’t meditate upon it, they just feel they have done their duty to God, and now they can go about their lives as they see fit. The things that consume them are the things of this world; their favorite sport, their car or truck, their favorite TV programs or computer activities, etc. These things are not necessarily bad in themselves, but the things of God are to be the center of our focus in life.
Listen to what the psalmist had to say about what we allow to come before our eyes:
I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. (Psalms 101:3)
I suggest you read the whole Psalm because in it David is talking about how he will live his life. He says he will behave himself wisely and in a perfect way, he will walk in his house with a perfect heart, he will not allow a perverse heart, he will not get to know wicked people, he will not put up with gossip, or pride, etc. He says that his relationships with be with the upright.
All of this is as it should be, but I just want to look at the setting of wicked things before our eyes.
The Hebrew word translated “wicked” means without profit or worthless. This means, not only will he not look (focus) on vile and immoral things, he will not look on things that are to no profit and a waste of time. Controlling the things we allow before our eyes is a big part of keeping our mind’s pure.
It is time to wrap this up. We can’t have a close walk with God unless we first purify our hearts.
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. (James 4:8)
Notice that this verse uses the word “nigh.” It does not mean the same thing as near. Near means in close proximity, while nigh means hugging close. To have pure minds we must have a pure heart and a close walk with God. There is nothing wrong with liking sports or hobbies, but if they interfere with our drawing nigh to God, we can never have the close relationship with God we should have.
We have the mind of Christ in the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit. We must make His mind our mind by meditating on His Word. This is the function of the mind that hides the Word of God in our hearts. When this treasure fills our hearts, it will bring forth good things.
I am a bit of a computer geek, and we have a saying, Junk in, Junk out. If you put junk into a computer, you will get junk out of it. If you put junk into your mind, you will get junk out.
If we want to have pure minds, we must fill them with pure things.
Let me close with a couple of questions:
Would you rather watch a ball game, or discuss the Bible?
Would you rather spend your day on Facebook, or study the Word of God?
Would you rather (you fill in the blank), or meditate on the things of God?
Your answer to these questions will tell whether or not you have the mind of Christ.