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Minimalism from a Biblical Point of View —

Biblical Minimalism© is "a complete, whole-person release of anything unlike Jesus, a letting go of everything that hinders us from following Him wholeheartedly and single-mindedly, and a relinquishing of all that brings us under bondage to this earthly, very temporary life." Cheryl E. Smith

Monday, June 25, 2018

Minimizing Mental Clutter


When I think about living an uncluttered, minimal life, my mind, at first goes in the obvious direction of too many physical possessions—but I find that minimal living that comes in alignment with God's Word is so much more than that.  Biblical Minimalism encompasses all areas of our lives, and as we work through this "Whole-Person Pie©," we seek to continually identify areas where clutter, excess, and sin may have, unbeknownst to us, crept in and accumulated.  There's a whole lot more to say about the minimizing of the physical slice of the pie, but for now, we will move on, pausing next on the "mental" slice.

"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

It is a reasonable request for God to ask us to present our "whole-person" to Him as a living sacrifice.  In fact, it is what we owe Him.  Jesus gave ALL He had for us and died a cruel, horrific death on an old, rugged cross to redeem us and so that you and I can live an abundant life.  The least we can do is to dedicate every part of us back to Him without reserve.  This includes our mind—that mental part of us where so much spiritual warfare takes place.  

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."  Ephesians 6:12  (KJV)

Just as God laid down specific laws in the Old Testament commanding that His chosen people be completely separate from all other nations, we, as the earthly body of Christ, are to be peculiar and distinctly different from the world around us.  

"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."  Titus 2:11-14

As Christians living in the dispensation of grace, we are not only followers of Jesus, but His Spirit literally dwells within us.  The longer we abide in Him, and He abides in us, the more we will look like Him and less like ourselves as He shines His light upon the things in our lives that are not in agreement with who He is, and we, in turn, walk in that light and lay them aside.

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."  2 Corinthians 5:17  (KJV)

We are not to conform to a worldly mindset because we have been transformed through the renewing of our minds.  When the blood of Jesus was applied to our hearts, we were automatically changed from the inside out.  Just as He regenerated our heart, He has renewed our minds, placing within us the very mind of Christ.  

"For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ."  I Corinthians 2:16  (KJV)

The ultimate goal is for each of us to live in victory and holiness right down to our thoughts and intentions.

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."  Hebrews 4:12  (KJV)

So, what is mental clutter?  Looking through a Biblical lens, of what does the mental part of us consist?  Though there are many facets to the mental slice of the pie, for the sake of not making this already-lengthy post even longer, I would like to discuss four.

Thoughts

Negative thoughts are like poison to the mind.  They cloud judgment, invoke irritability, and breed discontent.  They rob us of living the abundant life Jesus came to provide for us.  Once those thoughts progress to the next step of becoming words and being spoken from our lips, they have not only injected toxins into our own minds, but they spread negativity to the atmosphere and to those who are listening to us.

God's Word gives us a list of six specific things to think about.

"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  (KJV)

If our thoughts do not fall into any one of these categories, it is a good indication that they need to be released and redirected toward something that does line up with what we are to think about.

Imagination

Imagination can be a wonderful thing when it is applied in a noble way.  Imagination fosters creativity and is the beginning of many new things, such as inventions, songs, stories, medical breakthroughs, and beneficial discoveries.

On the flipside, imagination can bring anguish and torment to the human mind.  I have allowed my imagination to "run away with me" more times than I can count or recall, as I sat back and permitted things that were merely imagined to completely overtake what was real, sending me into a complete panic.  When a loved one is running a bit late, I can quickly imagine the worst has happened.  While waiting on a medical diagnosis, I have literally imagined everything from something slightly worrisome to making funeral arrangements.  How many moments of my life have I wasted on something that was the polar opposite of reality?  Most of what we dread never comes to pass, and most of what we dread is total imagination.

My dear, old, Godly Papaw used to say that imagination is the biggest nation in the world.  I think he was right.

God's Word tells us to cast down or overthrow imaginations.

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."  2 Corinthians 10:4-5  (KJV)

The thing that helps me most during times of overwhelming terror from imagining what "might have happened" or "what could happen" is to replace what I am imagining with the promises of God.  As they come to mind, I quote them out loud.  Here are some of my favorites.

"There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.  For He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways."  Psalm 91:10-11  (KJV)

"The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"  Psalm 27:1  (KJV)

"When they cry to the LORD because of oppressors, He will send them a savior and defender and deliver them."  Isaiah 19:20  (ESV)

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world."  I John 4:4  (KJV)

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."  Romans 8:37  (NIV)

Motives

Motive ~ a reason for doing something, especially one that is hidden or not obvious.

What lies at the root of our actions?  Are our motives ulterior?

"For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ."  Galatians 1:10  (ESV)

Why do we do the things we do?  (Click here to read the latest post on Homespun Devotions, called Obedience, or Sacrifice?)

"For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts."  I Thessalonians 2:3,4  (ESV)

Perspectives

Perspective ~ a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.

"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he."  Proverbs 23:7  (KJV)

How do you perceive God?  How do you view yourself?  What does your worldview look like?  Do your perspectives line up with Scripture, or are they more in line with the world around us?

The truth about God is—
He loves you so much, He died for you.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  John 3:16  (KJV)
He wants you to live an abundant life.
"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly."  John 10:10  (KJV)
His plans for you are good.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11  (NIV)
The truth about you is—
You are dear to God's heart.
"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."  Matthew 10:29-31  (NIV)
You are God's own child.
"But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:  which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."  John 1:12-13  (KJV)
You have been set free!
"We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin."  Romans 6:6  (NLT)
The truth about this world is—
It is temporary.
"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which, the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.  Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?"  2 Peter 3:10-11  (KJV)
We must be different from it.
"Do all things without murmurings and disputings:  that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world."  Philippians 2:14-15  (KJV)
We are not to love it.
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."  I John 2:15  (KJV)

Jesus said, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."  John 8:32  (KJV)

The truth is, in light of eternity, life on this earth is very brief.
"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."  James 4:14  (KJV)

We are only passing through.  The things we should most focus on and pour our attention and care into are the only two parts of us that will outlive this life—our eternal soul and the legacy we will leave behind.  

The world around us screams, "Buy more!"  "Accumulate all you can!"  "Take it home today, pay for it later!" "You can't live in this modern world without debt."  "Do whatever it takes to live the American dream!"

God's Word says, "Don't own more than you need." "Lay up treasures in Heaven, not on the earth."  "Do not borrow or owe anyone anything."  "Everything on this earth will pass away."  "Live an eternity-focused life."

Mental clutter could be defined as any thought, imagination, motive, or perspective that conflicts with Scripture.  Minimizing it and replacing it with the way God thinks will bring about a lasting, deep, and much sought-after sense of peace.  I pray you find that, my friend.

18 comments:

  1. Hi Cheryl, I love how you have summarized the mind, the thinking portion of us, thoughts, imaginations, perspectives, and motives. Wow, no wonder the battlefield is so huge and vulnerable in us. Thank the Lord we can renew our minds daily with His word, and change all that is absorbed in our minds through EVERYTHING out there. Great great post!
    God bless
    Tracy

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    1. Oh, my! You are so right! The battlefield is huge, and it is no wonder the enemy has such a heyday trying to defeat us in our minds. If he wins there, he pretty much wins period. God, help us. It is a constant struggle to maintain mental victory over his continual tactics, and like you said everything out there. There is SO evil input. Thank you so very much for your support and kind words of encouragement, Tracy! Oh, they truly mean so much! God bless you, too, my friend.

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    1. Thank you for reading, Sandi! God bless you!

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  3. Cheryl, what a wonderful study! Just this morning I received some news that was discouraging and I let my mind imagine all kinds of things. About that time, I felt in my spirit the gentle whisper that He is in control. I decided I wouldn’t allow this to cloud my thoughts and ruin my day! The powerful Word that you used was so good to read and be reminded that our mind and thoughts are to be in line with Phil. 4:8. Thank you for your study, prayer, and preparation in order to share with us. Blessings, Pam

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    1. Oh, Pam! I just praise God for using this to remind you and encourage you. I surely understand being hit with things that are so discouraging, and yes, my friend, it can surely ruin the whole day, if we allow it to. It is a constant battle, but one that we CAN win, through Jesus' strength. I so appreciate your support and encouragement!

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  4. Great read today Cheryl. Thanks for giving of yourself to share with us. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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    1. Thank you, Cindy. I appreciate your visit and kind words! Hugs and blessings to you, too!

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  5. I definitely have to keep cleaning out mental clutter. It can pile up quicker than physical clutter. :( Thanks for sharing your insights on it. It's a topic we need to hear more about! The Lord desires us to have clarity, not clutter.

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    1. Thank you, Lisa! I totally agree that it surely can pile up quicker than physical clutter. Oh, my, it is a continual battle. God bless you, my friend!

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  6. You seem to know just what I need to hear on a particular day. Your post today reached into my soul and assured me that the Lord is with me at all times. Blessings to you dear friend.

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    1. Oh, that is wonderful, sweet friend! I am so thankful to know that you were encouraged. May the Lord bless you and hold you ever close. I got your sweet email and will respond as soon as I can. Sending hugs and blessings your way!

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  7. Dear Cheryl,
    Oh these are such good thoughts. I know that the Lord is causing me to look at my motives and my perspectives during this season in my life. May I let Him purify my heart. You have brought such encouragement to me here, to remember that He purges and purifies us to give us the mind of Christ. Blessings, love and hugs to you my friend!

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    1. Yes, dear friend, that is the cry of my heart, too. I am so thankful you found encouragement and trust God will meet you and give you the desires of your heart. Sending blessings, love, and hugs back to you, dear Bettie!

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  8. Hi Cheryl, Oh my. It happened again. I had wrote a long comment and it never showed up. It seems to happen whenever I am reading and leaving comments from my smartphone. :-(

    I so appreciate your insights on minimizing in every area of our life. I can't stand clutter in my home. It actually physically effects. Yet one area that I seem to be a hoarder is mentally. :-( Like you, I have allowed my imagination (I love what your PawPaw said. So true!) to run away from me. This past weekend I spent in paralyzing fear to the point where I had to say to myself, "Karen, get a grip!".

    Oh that I would instead think upon whatever is true, whatever is lovely, whatever is noble.

    I always appreciate your gentle, humble admonishments. You are such a treasure.

    Sending you much love and gratitude.

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    1. Oh, dear friend, I am so sorry! There has been something wrong with my blog. Different people have told me they can't leave comments, and I cannot figure out why? I wish I knew how to fix it, but I am so thankful you persevered and left this precious encouragement. I am in a severe battle with fear tonight, and if you happen to see this, I would SO appreciate your prayers. Sending much love back to you and trusting God to be your comfort!

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  9. OMG! Kindred spirit so glad I found you! Thank you!

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    1. Oh, so thankful for your visit and kind words, Lynn! God bless you!

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