3 Habits for Cultivating a Sound Mind

A Sound Mind?!?  Yes, please!  Many days I feel just the opposite; “going out of my mind” or “losing my mind” might be a more accurate description. Menopausal, middle-age is beginning to take its toll on my mind.

This morning I squirted shampoo into my body puff—but it worked; my skin had this great Moroccan Oil glow. Yesterday I was heading back to work after lunch and a new billboard for the Whole Foods Market (coming to our area soon) caught my eye. Next thing I know, I’ve passed the church and I’m heading down the road toward Whole Foods.

I’m constantly searching for my glasses only to find them on top of my head.  I walk into a room and can’t remember what I’m doing.

You get the idea. My mind is overtaxed, swirling and often I feel like I’m in a foggy haze.  And I know you don’t have to be menopausal or middle-aged to know what I’m talking about.  I know those of you with babies and young children at home can relate. And those with pre-teen and teens at home can relate.  The point: it’s not confined to a particular season of life.  So who’s with me?  Who’s ready for a sound mind?!

Last week in the Take Heart post, we looked at finding freedom when we are fearful of the future, the uncertain, or the unknown.  Today, I want to continue that discussion as we look at three habits we can cultivate in our lives to help us change our mindset and attitude, to develop a sound mind, and to walk confidently and courageously in Christ.

Three Habits of a Sound Mind

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and a sound mind. —2 Timothy 1:7

sound mind  – to make sound, to restore to one’s senses, curb the mind, curbing one’s desires and impulses; from two words meaning  to save, restore, deliver and to rein in (the mind), diaphragm, heart, fig. feelings.  

Three habits we can cultivate in our lives to help us change our mindset and attitude, to develop a sound mind, and to walk confidently and courageously in Christ reflecting Him to those around us.

#1 A Steadfast Mind 

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. —Isaiah 26:3

stayed on  – to lean or lay upon, to sustain, refresh, revive; to support, sustain; to place or lay something upon anything, so that it may rest upon and be supported by it.

When my mind is stayed on God, I am continually seeking to focus on Him — look back at the definition for the word in the original language — to lean up, to rest and be supported by something.  When I “stay” my mind upon Him, I’m focusing on who He is and what He has done.  I’m leaning heavily into His presence as I pour my heart out to Him and surrender my situation to Him. Instead of leaning upon my own strengths and abilities, I’m acknowledging that I can’t do it all and be all.  That I need Him!  That I’m dependent upon Him, not only for my very life and breath but for His wisdom, guidance, power, and presence in this situation. But we also see in this verse that we must trust Him.

trust   to be confident or sure, to trust in; to be secure

The opposite of a steadfast mind is described perfectly in James 1:8, “…he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

double-minded  – vacillating, wavering, divided in interest

unstable  – unstable, inconstant, restless

James is talking about someone who seeks God, asks for wisdom and guidance, and yet does not trust God.  He does not ask in faith, believing, and trusting God.  He is not leaning upon God.  He’s taking it back into his own hands and finds himself wavering, divided in interest, unstable, restless. If we are going to cultivate a steadfast mind, we must couple our leaning upon and resting in God with trust —believing in God’s power to act.

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. —John 14:1

It’s so easy to get caught up and whisked away in the flurry of activities and demands that my day holds. A steadfast mind is something I must intentionally choose to focus on and cultivate.  And I love how God sends the messy, hard, and overwhelming things into our lives to focus us back on His presence.  When my mind is stayed on Him, I experience His perfect peace.  He restores, revives, and sustains me.

His heart is steady; he will not be afraid… —Psalm 112:8

#2 A Renewed Mind

How many times have you been watching that commercial on TV and suddenly realize you need what they have to offer, and you don’t know why it didn’t occur to you before now?

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.—Romans 12:2

renewal  – a renewing or renovation which makes a person different than in the past; a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better.

Romans 12:1-2 offers us two options when it comes to what influences our mindset and attitude.  We are either conforming to the ways of the world or we are transformed by renewing our minds.  Conformity in the verse is a word that means to conform one’s mind and character to the same pattern, to masquerade.  We are bombarded with thousands of messages from the world every day regarding how we should live, think, and act.  It’s hard not to be influenced, especially when those doing the promoting are experts in their fields.  They know how to get our attention and motivate us to respond.

But the world and its ways go beyond commercial advertising, the enemy of our souls knows what buttons to push in our lives.

Satan’s one goal: to get us to doubt God’s character.  We must renew our minds in truth constantly, daily, even hourly.  We need to remind ourselves of the truth of who God is, what He had done, and His desires and His purpose for our lives. God uses His Word and His Spirit living in us to renew our minds and transform us more and more each day into one who reflects Christ Jesus in our thoughts, attitudes, and actions.

Four Words for “RENEW” in the NT as relates to the mind:

Titus 3:5 – renewed by the Holy Spirit – “anakainosis” – a renewing or renovation which makes a person different than in the past; a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better. (a complete change for the better effected by the Holy Spirit)

2 Corinthians 4:16 – renewed in our inner man – “anakainoo” – to cause to grow up; to make new; changed into a new kind of life as opposed to the former corrupt state; new strength & vigor

Ephesians 4:23 – renewed in the spirit of our minds – “ananeoo” – to make new again; the divine influences by which the temperament or disposition of the mind is affected; correcting, elevating, ennobling and filling the mind with peace and joy.  Through the influence of the Holy Spirit, Christians have the same disposition and frame of mind with Christ.

Colossians 3:10 – renewed in knowledge – “anakainoo” – to cause to grow up; to make new; according to the image of our Creator- a knowledge that accurately reflects Christ “epignosis” – precise and correct knowledge.

A renewed mind is one that is saturated with the Word of God and controlled by the Spirit of God. 

#3 A Fixed & Captivated Mind

captivate – to attract and hold the attraction or interest; to influence or dominate

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. —Hebrews 12:2

fixed  – to consider attentively, to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something.

I love this word in the original language. It’s so intentional.  When we fix our eyes on Jesus, we have to take our eyes off other things. We take our attention off that situation that is creating the fear, worry and anxiousness and we look to Jesus. We fix our attention on Him. We rest in His presence.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.—2 Corinthians 4:16-18

look to  – to turn the eyes to anything: to look at, look upon, gaze at.

What are these “unseen” things that we are to turn to, look at and gaze upon?  They are the things that are eternal —the character and nature of God.  When we find ourselves overwhelmed by fear of the unknown or uncertain, we can renew our minds by focusing on and rehearsing the character of God —who He is and what He has done.

We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ. —2 Corinthians 10:5

taking captive – to make captive, bring into captivity, metaphorically, to capture one’s mind.

When we find our minds divided, distracted, and doubting due to fear, we counter this by taking captive our thoughts and centering them on the nature and character of our faithful God. When those thoughts surface that tends to make you fearful and doubt God’s character, fix them on Jesus. Focus on who He is and who you are in Him!  When our thoughts are fixed on and captivated with Jesus, it changes our perspective and gives us a confident and courageous mind that is characterized by peace, joy, confidence, security, contentment, and freedom.

A sound mind is steadfast, renewed day by day in God’s Word, captivated by Jesus, and controlled by the Holy Spirit.

Rejoicing in Him!

©2014 Susan Cady, susancady.com

2 Replies to “3 Habits for Cultivating a Sound Mind”

  1. Started reading this about 14 hours ago… One of those days! I’m so glad I finished it tonight. I love the aspect of renewing my mind to make it different! I want to have the mind of The Savior, great insights to meditate on! Thanks Susan!

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