Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Romans 12.2
The mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8.6
A Word of Hope
Whether you’ve given up something for Lent or went full-Protestant and gave up….Lent for Lent, this time between winter and spring, between the suffering and the Resurrection of Jesus, still remains a season of reflecting on a season for releasing what is old and embracing the new.
Perhaps the most easily overlooked, but crucial, area for us to consider such changes is in our thoughts.
For every moment of our waking hours, we are inundated with messages. We receive them from our spouses, partners, families, friends, workplaces, everyone we encounter throughout the day, and a staggering amount of marketing and advertising. According to Forbes, almost $250 billion will be spent on advertising and marketing this year and that most Americans are exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 ads per day. Each ad and each advertising dollar seeks to achieve one goal: to change your mind. These figures show the value of our thoughts. What we think and believe obviously matters a great deal.
Certainly, not every message sent our way is bad. Some can be quite beneficial. But, the majority of these messages bombarding us throughout the day take some form of “you’re okay, but…” or tell us that we are only as good as what we own, how we look, our education level, our income, or our occupation. This is the real Fake News.
The sheer number and velocity of these messages must lodge in our brains on some level and work our mental default settings. In the process, we sometimes try to separate our “spiritual life” and our “everyday life” in order to resolve the inner conflict between our cultural mindset and that of God.
In order for us to be who we were created to be, we must undertake the mental renovation project of surrendering the residual thoughts and effects of the messages coming at us from the outside and replacing them with those that arise from our Spirit. In doing so, we allow the messages we receive from God to take center stage in our hearts and minds.
The messages of Jesus are not so much difficult as they are radical and profoundly different; even counter-intuitive. I remain convinced that the only true and lasting way for us to see love, justice, and mercy in our world is to uproot all that is not loving, just, and merciful in our minds.
And in order to accomplish that, we must identify the erroneous nature of the cultural messages that saturate our minds so that we might refocus our souls on what we know to be true: that we are loved unconditionally, that we have what we need at this very moment, and that we are never alone. We recognize that the way of Christ calls us to recognize all of our fellow human beings as our equals, to bring good news to the poor, the outcast, the forgotten, and to live with integrity.
Let us be as relentless and motivated in marketing the message of God, not through prosthelytizing but by ensuring all those within our circle of influence simply know that they are loved and that they matter.
Most Loving God,
We submit to your Spirit our minds in order that they may be renewed, and our souls so that we may be transformed. We thank You for the clarity You provide. May it so transform us that we continue to become more like Christ. By the power of Your Spirit, remove the misguided and constricting messages we receive in this world and may Your peace, love, equality, integrity, and joy guide our every decision.
And so it is. Amen.