We continued our Lenten worship theme Engage this morning with Dr. Rick Barger, President of Trinity Lutheran Seminary, preaching about the spiritual discipline of study. The core text he referenced was from Paul’s letter to the Romans, “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).
The renewing of your mind. As he preached, I was reminded of two of my guiding life principles:
- What we focus on and do, we become.
Many years ago, Robert Benne wrote a book entitled Ordinary Saints. In the book he described two sins that are pervasive in American society: pride and distraction. Distraction. Did you watch the Bachelor this week? Or see what so and so posted on Facebook? Or find the recipe I posted on Pinterest (I heard someone say that… that was not me!)? Or… Or…. Or…
None of these, in themselves, are destructive. In accumulation, they dull our spirits, numb our minds, and constrict our imaginations. When asked about our lives, the normal response these days is “Busy.” My question is, “With what?”
As followers of Jesus, an important question for us to consider is this: What am I doing each day to renew my mind, to connect me with the source of life, to build into my life the character of Jesus? Remember, what we focus on and do, we become.
2. If we can imagine it, we launch the process toward achieving it.
I love reading the prophets, especially those that spoke to the people Israel during the exile. Remember, the people had been overtaken by the Babylonians; their land ravaged, their temple destroyed, their families killed or enslaved in a foreign land. The writer of Psalm 137 captures the pathos of the people at the time, “By the waters of Babylon there we sat and wept as we remembered Zion (Jerusalem).”
In the midst of their suffering, voices of hope emerged, helping the people to imagine, even in the depths of despair, that life could be renewed, relationships could be restored, dignity could be reclaimed. Even before it happened, hope was beginning to be planted within the people. Even in imagining it, the process of hope was initiated.
It’s Monday. As you engage this week, what will you focus your mind on? What will you read, watch, what conversations will you engage, that will help you imagine something new for your life? For others? Peace. Kai