6 “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
Romans 8:6 (ESV)
The mind is a critical element to quality sport performance. Study of film, scouting reports, playbooks, game plans, in-game adjustments are all key to competing at a high level. You must be able to concentrate through the ebb and flow of a game and season: success, adversity and everything in between.
The ability to discipline our minds drastically improves our chances of performing at our best. It allows us to move forward through mistakes and handle success properly.
What we focus our minds on often reveals to us what we are most passionate about, whose approval we are seeking, and what our motivation is. As athletes, we see, feel and maybe wrestle with the plethora of answers to these questions.
Personally I know if I allow it, my mind will always default to the selfish answers: building my legacy, getting fans to love me, earning headlines.
This battle of the mind isn’t exclusive to sports; however, it attacks us everyday from the moment we open our eyes in the morning.
Paul wants us to be aware of this battle because how we live directly evolves from how we think. Therefore, he frequently emphasized the work of our mind in our Christian walk (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:17-23; 2 Corinthians 4:4).
Before we know Christ, our minds don’t have options. We know the world and our flesh with no alternative in sight. But once God opens our minds to see who Jesus really is, the Spirit and "things that are above" (Colossians 3:2) become possibilities.
We now have a choice for where we can direct our thoughts. This is great news because, as Paul tells us above, the different focuses of our minds lead down very alternative paths.
Unfortunately, our minds will not choose the path of “life and peace” on its own. It must be retrained and renewed to focus on what matters.
We must actively seek to set our minds on the Spirit and things of God each and every day. Otherwise we will default to what is easy and natural: self, comfort and convenience.
Let's not take this lightly and allow our minds to drift and wander as they please. Let's think, read, ponder, meditate and search out the things of God -- and rejoice at the fruit that results!
Reflect: How is my ability to focus my mind? On school? Sports? God? During what circumstances am I least likely to "set my mind" on the Spirit?