What is on your mind?

Dear BPCWA worshipper, “What’s on your mind?” An innocent and possibly common enough question that we don’t think twice about. But have you ever thought about why we ask that? The fact that we ask that is probably because we assume that there is something going on in our minds in the first place! Today, let me ask you that question – what is on your mind?

Actions stem from our minds. A little more than a week ago, the events at Westfield Bondi Junction stunned Australia and even the world. Few would have guessed what was on the mind of the attacker before his attack. Now, the police have set themselves the task of going through his actions and life to try to, in their own words, “get a better understanding of what he was thinking”. To do that, they are trying to “get a picture of his movements and what he’s been doing.” What this reveals is the fact that very often, what we do is typically related to how we think. Uncovering the tracks, so to speak, will show how our actions are building up to what we are thinking of doing. And what our mind thinks about is what we put into it in the first place. What we read and look at often feeds how our minds think. This being so, isn’t it important for us to consider what we feed our minds? God says “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Pr 23:7). As the saying goes, we are what we eat. Figuratively, this is so with our minds too. What we put into our minds will become what and who we are. And there is another common saying, “Garbage in, garbage out”. If so, then “What’s on your mind?” is a very important question that we must answer for ourselves. The most fearful thing is that this may be a question that some would sidestep or not answer what truly is on their minds. This is because what is on their minds isn’t the congenial, respectable, or moral person that we see on the outside. Despite this, many will seek to maintain a moral façade externally because they want others to think well of them. Frighteningly, the mind can hide deep, dark, ugly secrets that we can conceal even from those close to us.

Sin begins in the mind. What are you fascinated with? What do you gravitate to? This speaks very much about what your mind is inclined to. Perhaps a question that we should be asking ourselves regularly after this is “What is on my mind?” as a means of reflecting and consciously searching the content within our minds. It is so easy to let our minds drift uncontrollably. We may control our actions and where we go, but we don’t make much attempt to control and restrain our minds. This is not how it should be for a Christian, because of the following. 1) Dwelling on sinful thoughts are sin. As our Saviour pointed out, it is not merely the externals that God is concerned about. God tells us His standard of righteousness, that “whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Mt 5:28). If we truly believe in God’s standard of sin, we should be feeling very remorseful for the multitude of sins that we dwell on in our minds without restraint. 2) Sinful thoughts lead to sinful words and actions. One who continues to toy with sinful thoughts will eventually commit an external sin. The anger in our heart turns to speech, “That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment . . . whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” (Mt 5:22). So, we are warned that while unreined anger leads to murder, even injuring brethren by unwarranted reproach is killing. Also, Christ further explains that “those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Mt 15:18-19). A Current Affair report quotes the police as saying that the Bondi killer had a “fixation with killing” and a “fixation with knives”. “It wasn’t a spur of the moment attack. Beforehand, he was thinking about killing, and that is terribly frightening.” Scheming, plotting, planning . . . these are the fruit of sinful thoughts. 3) Sinful exposure accelerates sinful thoughts. Certainly, the natural man is totally depraved and capable of the vilest sins. Even as early as in the early chapters of man’s history, “GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Ge 6:5). What a description of the sinful nature of man’s mind. The wickedness of man has to do with his imaginations, the thoughts of his heart, and the constancy of such evil therein! The point is that God highlighted the imaginations and thoughts of man. It was to show that there seemed to be no bounds to their sinful imaginations which would spread rapidly like leaven in a lump. Sinfulness has spread so far and wide. The growing sinfulness of man accelerated to a point where God had to send a great flood to judge the world.

I hope we begin to see and take seriously the dangers of what we allow in to occupy our minds. If we are not careful, we will become someone we cannot even recognise over time. This is because our thoughts will become so worldly and carnal that we fail to even see our backslidings. What can we do? God willing, we shall consider how we should rein in our minds.

Yours in our Lord’s service,