The events that have unfolded around the world in the past few months will certainly leave a mark. No one could have predicted that we would suddenly find ourselves in the middle of a massive shut down. Life as we all know it has come to a stop and a new normal has been hard to come by. And as much as we all want to go back to our lives as they were, we know that can’t and won’t happen for quite some time… if ever. Because even when we do find ourselves going back to school and work, things will be different. There will be life before this virus and life after the virus. Nothing will be the same. But if there is one thing I’ve learned through this entire ordeal, it’s that our minds play an active role in how we cope. It’s important to renew your mind in the midst of uncertainty. Because in the end, only our faith in Christ has the power to keep us grounded in the truth.
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What you think about matters… so choose wisely what consumes your thought life.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. – Philippians 4:8
I speak from experience when I say that it’s way too easy to allow the world to dictate your thoughts. We are literally surrounded by it. We have the news telling us to be afraid. Social media is filled with everyone’s opinions. Even going to the grocery store, I find myself saddened by all of the masks and social distancing. And while I am doing my part to keep my distance and ensure everyone’s safety, I can’t help but feel discouraged and sad by it all.
If there was ever a time to renew your mind in the midst of uncertainty, it would be now. No one really knows when all of this will be over or when we will be able to spend time with one another again. And until that happens, we have two choices. We can focus on our loneliness (which only makes us feel more alone) or we can think about things that are “worthy of praise.”
Our actions matter… so choose to rejoice even when it’s hard.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. – Philippians 4:4-6
One of the best ways to renew your mind in the midst of uncertainty is to change your actions. I’ll be honest. It’s hard to stay positive when everything around me is entirely negative. I have found that sometimes I have to make the choice to rejoice. I love how this passage in Philippians tells us not once, but two times that we should rejoice always. Not just when we feel like it… but ALWAYS.
But what I find most interesting is that it also tells us to allow our gentleness to be “known to all men.” The world is watching. How we respond in times of uncertainty demonstrates our reliance on God. If we are panicking with the rest of the world, what does that say about our faith?
When you renew your mind in the midst of uncertainty, you have the opportunity to rest in God’s peace.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. …The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:7, 9
If there is one thing to be learned from these passages it’s that our thoughts, as well as our actions, allow us to experience God’s peace. They work together. We are told to rejoice always in prayer and to think about things worthy of praise. The result is a peace that “surpasses all comprehension.” In other words, while the world is turned upside down, we can have peace!
Here’s the truth… times of uncertainty are hard. I’m not trying to take away from the seriousness of what we are facing. Some of us are experiencing illness ourselves. Others are worried about loved ones or have even lost someone close to them. And yet others still are simply trying to make ends meet financially and get through this time of quarantine the best way possible. No matter where you land on this spectrum, however, God’s Word still holds true.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Spend time in prayer giving thanks to God for all He has done. And live in His peace.
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.