One time while walking with a co-worker through the hallways of the church where we served, he experienced a mental lapse which made him feel extremely foolish.
He turned to me and said, “You know, of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” Losing one’s mind would be the only valid explanation for what happened to a young man in Pittsburg towards the end of August. He decided he wanted to impress a young lady he’d met for the first time earlier in the evening by jumping from the roof of one building to another. I guess he knew no better way to impress a woman than by pretending to be Superman. As he jumped from one roof to the other, he failed to clear the distance and fell between the two buildings. He was lodged between the buildings for a number of hours until rescue personnel could cut a hole in the wall of one of the buildings so he could be freed. Amazingly, his only injury was a sprained ankle. His experience proved the wisdom of the age-old slogan of the United Negro College Fund, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”
We are called upon to manage a lot of things in life – time, money, talents, emotions, relationships, attitudes to name a few. But next to the management of our hearts, the most important things we find ourselves managing are our minds, due to all the intellectual activities which our minds handle, such as, memory, thinking, reasoning, decision making, conscience, inclination, knowledge, wisdom, and character. Mess up those mental tasks, and mismanagement of a lot of other things in life will follow. The importance of effective mind management to all of life is the inspiration for the following wisdom from Scripture: “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” Another translation of that same verse reads, “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life” (Proverbs 4:23).
How does a person manage his mind such that he/she experiences the best in life? One part of that answer is found in the phrase cited in the verse above: “watch over.” The basic ideas behind that phrase are twofold and suggest both offensive and defensive activity:
- Guarding our minds like one would guard a fortification. This means standing guard defensively over our minds to prevent anything from entering them which would later on cause problems. One way of looking at it would be the need to protect our minds from mental “Trojan Horses.” Mental “Trojan Horses” include injurious ways of thinking - like stinkin’ thinkin’ regarding self and others, negative worldviews, harmful books, magazines, videos, movies, and TV programs. Much is “out there” which can hurt us when it gets lodged in our minds, so we must be careful to stand diligently on guard.
- Tending to our minds like a shepherd would tend his flock of sheep. Wise mind management from this perspective would include feeding our minds with healthy thoughts and information, plus ridding our minds of negative thought patterns which have already gained a place.
Are you struggling with a mental “Trojan Horse” today regarding yourself, a personal relationship, your job, or something else.? I can give you no better advice as to how you can tend to it than the Apostle Paul’s advice found in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “…we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Do that and you will not be guilty of losing or wasting your mind.
About the Author
Jerry Long is a retired minister [38 years] living in metro Greenville, SC. He and his wife Lynne have two daughters and three grandchildren. He holds degrees from Clemson University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.