What Are You Chasing?
There I sat, thousands of feet in the air with my Bible open and pen in hand. My most honest thoughts come when I am in the cab of an airplane, forced to sit still with my phone turned off. As the sun slanted through the window, my pen hit paper and honesty poured out.
This idea of think → care → chase has been running circles in my brain over these past few weeks. The Lord has continually made me aware of what my heart wants to chase and how my thought patterns are the cause of this effect. It is so profound to me that what I think about is what I will care about and what I care about is what I will chase after! My mind has so much power over the well being of my heart and my ability to really chase after Jesus.
I am marked by the world and my desires have become full of what it desires - the American Dream. How quickly I forget that my Savior chased after very different things as He walked this Earth! Jesus’ dream was not the American one. His dream was to restore His people back to Him so that He could be in perfect union with them. The reason my heart desires the American Dream more than it desires Jesus’ dream is because my brain is filled with more of the world than of Jesus.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - His good, pleasing, and perfect will.” -Romans 12:2
Romans 12:2 encourages me not to make the American Dream my own dream. I think that it is noteworthy that Paul tells me to renew my mind: not my heart, not my actions, but my mind. The thoughts in my mind are truly powerful! Paul is following the rough outline of think → care → chase. He knows that I must renew my MIND so that my heart does not conform to the patterns of this world. It’s weighty to think about how my thoughts impact my heart and God judges man by what is in his heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
Paul is encouraging his brothers and sisters to swim against the stream. They lived in a world where believing Jesus was the Son of God was punishable by death. These people were condemned for what they ardently believed in and it was dangerous, but Paul tells them not to fold! “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
I am not living in the shadow of death for what I believe like the Romans so many years ago, so how can I apply these words in my life? This vision of think → care → chase seems to answer that question. If I am not meditating, or thinking, on the word of the Lord day and night my heart will not run toward truth (Joshua 1:8). My mind is the guard of my heart - it decides what gets in and what stays out. What am I letting my mind dwell on that is skewing my desires and pulling me away from Jesus?
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.” -Philippians 4:8-9
Paul tells us what to think about in Philippians 4:8-9 and answers my question. It seems impossible to think about all the things on this lengthy list, but I reflect on how my thought patterns have changed over the years, and how they continue to change, and realize that the changes are indirect correlation to my understanding of the Word of God. The more time that I have spent in the Word the more my thoughts and desires have lined up with what Paul instructs in Philippians.
It is a universal understanding in the Church body that this world provides many distractions that pull us from Jesus. I think that it is incredibly important to note that these distractions become dangerous when they penetrate our hearts. To protect our hearts we must guard our minds against the world. How do we do this if we are called to live in the world?
I must saturate my mind with the Truth of the Bible so that it might penetrate my heart. I have to be on guard for what my brain is feasting on the most. If I am feeding it the world more than I am feeding it the Truth, my heart is in grave danger of being lead astray.
Here are some tricks that I have picked up on that have turned my mind towards the Lord so that my heart might chase after Him:
Listening to the Bible read aloud
Instead of filling the silence around me with a playlist whose songs I have memorized I have started listening to the Bible read aloud. Sometimes I do my best to pay attention to what is happening in the Word of the Lord but other times I simply allow the words to run around around in my brain without much thought at all.
I have downloaded the app Bible.Is on my phone and I listen to the dramatized version of the Bible. Having the Word dramatized helps me visualize what is actually happening and keeps my brain engaged with the story. I also listen to Streetlights Bible on Spotify. They add a hip hop beat to chapters of the Bible while they read it and it gives my brain something to listen to that isn’t just words but is still the Bible.
Setting time limits on my phone
Setting time limits on my phone has been helpful in a number of ways. I am not wasting empty time that I could be using in a different way and I am also not feeding my brain things of the world. My goal in this is has been that I would spend more time feeding off of Truth than off of the world around me.
On my iPhone I am able to set time limits in the settings. I have a friend keep the password for me so that once my time limit has been met I can no longer interact with the world through my screen.
As I have done these small things I have seen my belief in my identity become more steadfast and my desire to share the gospel become more urgent. I have seen my heart long to draw even closer to the Lord in prayer and spend time with Him outside of scheduled interactions. My mind is dwelling on the Truth and my heart is chasing after Jesus’ dream!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stuck in the middle of it all: the middle of transition, the United States, and life itself Abbie seeks to delight in all of it; to laugh at the mundane as well as the intricacies of life. She finds joy in meeting women where they are at and pushing them to give more of their hearts to Jesus each day. For more from her visit her at xoxoabbie.com or follow her on Instagram @abbie_norris.