It may come as no surprise that the world is vying for our attention. It’s certainly nothing new, but perhaps it has accelerated its program and expanded it’s offerings since the dawn of the Age of Consumerism particularly with technological advancements.
We’re surrounded by a sea of offerings from music, television, and the internet. We have media in our pockets and at our fingertips, literally a world in the palm of our hands. Long gone are the days of watching a favorite television show and having to wait an entire week to find out what was going to happen next. We live in an age of Netflix and binge-watching, where we can consume as much as we want, when we want, how we want, and where we want. Gone too are the mornings of slow and deliberate newspaper reading, we have and desire 24/7 news accessibility.
Additionally, we are bombarded with voices, even the one speaking through this meager blog; voices from blogs, podcasts, vlogs, radio, t.v., print, etc. all telling us how to think and what to think on. Not only are there talking heads on these various platforms, but there is social media, where literally thousands of voices can combine to leave comments on any topic or simply speak through their own platform. We are exposed to the lives, thoughts, and opinions of others without limit. In fact, we expose ourselves to them each time we open Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or turn on the radio or television.
The quantity and variety of media is limitless. Essentially, you can find anything you want at any time you want or simply wait and it will find you. If we stopped to think about it, the amount of information our minds are exposed on a daily basis is staggering. Oddly enough, despite all of the over-exposure to this information, all the while we remain un-engaged with people and with the media we are consuming. In a sense it is a mindless consumption. Simply observe a modern family in a restaurant, each with their own devices scrolling in a zombie-like, semi-vegetative state failing to realize the interactions they’re so desperately searching for lie across the table.
Is any of this consumption of spiritual profit to our minds? With all of these voices and media options garnering our attention, clouding our minds, and sending us into a catatonic state it can be difficult, rather it can be virtually impossible, to hear the only Voice that matters. The voice of Almighty God speaking through His all-holy Word.
Over and again in God’s Word we read such statements regarding the mind as
Romans 8:5-8 “5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.“
Colossians 3:1-2 “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.“
1 Peter 1:13 “13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Philippians 4:8-9 “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things“
Just in the sampling above, we see that there are calls to action for setting the mind on the things of God. How can this happen if we allow ourselves to be bombarded with a cesspool of virtual media? How are we to love the Lord with all of our mind if it is filled with all manner of worldliness, regardless of the media form in which it is delivered?
Simply put, we cannot.
This places a level of importance upon the much maligned and neglected practice of divine meditation.
Writing in Volume One of his works, Puritan John Owen says
“The mind must be spiritual and holy, freed from earthly affections and encumbrances, raised above things here below, that can in a due manner meditate on the glory of Christ. Therefore are the most strangers unto this duty, because they will not be at the trouble and charge of that mortification of earthly affections, — that extirpation* of sensual inclinations, — that retirement from the occasions of life, which are required whereunto.”
*killing; exterminating; unto extinction
Owen, speaking of the distractions of his own 17th Century, exhorts us that the mind must be freed from earthly affections and from those things which would hold us back and keep us from meditation, particularly on Christ. This is the chief reason why so few give their mind to meditation, they are entangled in the mindless distractions of this age. In order to meditate properly and effectively, these affections and distractions must be brought to extinction. Not merely placated. Not merely lessened. But totally eradication.
So then, we are faced with a multitude of problems, from over-exposure to media, to a failure to realize we are called to meditate on Christ, ignorance of how to meditate, a variety of media distracting our minds from the spiritual discipline of meditation.
How can we possibly prepare our minds for action if we are exposed to such a quantity of mental distractions?
Perhaps our answer may be as simple as realizing that those who have trusted in Christ have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5). A mind that is transformed by renewal, not conformed to this world (Romans 12:2; Eph. 4:23). Believer’s in Christ have been renewed in their inward man, a renewal of the mind (2 Corinthians 4:16). This gift of a renewed mind is not to be given over to worldly pollution again (Eph. 4:17).
Far too often it seems we are content to allow our minds to veg-out in media consumption, failing to realize that there is a daily war taking place, vying for our attention with a motivation to numb us to the core of our very souls.
For the unbeliever, your mind has been blinded by the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4) whose desire it is to keep you blinded by constant distractions. It is a mind given over to futility (Ephesians 4:17) and a mind set on the things of this world, which are hostile to Christ (Philippians 3:18-19). The only hope is a renewed mind in Christ through repentance of sin and embracing of Him by faith as Lord and Savior.
For the believer, it is a realization that we have the mind of Christ. A mind that is not to be subject to the calling sirens of the world. A mind that is not to be set on things below. A mind that is to be set on, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.“