Monday Morning Devotion-April 27, 2020
The Preoccupied Mind
*A reprint from August 3, 2015.
Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17
So how many times have you thanked God for His Holy Spirit today? Uh, well how many times this week? Then, this month?
That is a good thing to do. Just like it is a good practice to thank others when they give us a gift, we should thank God for his Holy Spirit because that is one of His greatest gifts to us.
Sarah Young (Jesus Calling) says that thanking God for His Holy Spirit is like "priming the pump of a well." It allows His spirit to work more freely. It produces more thankfulness and more freedom, and you become "overflowing with gratitude." And gratitude is a good thing. Very good.
When we have gratitude that means something good has happened. How many times have you said, "Well, I sure am grateful for°."? Probably lots of times and even if you haven't said it you have probably thought about something you are grateful for that did or didn't happen.
Now here is an area in which the Holy Spirit can be a really big help. It's when your mind gets stuck on something and you can't shake it. You just can't seem to get it out of your mind. That happens a lot with music.
You will hear a song and it stays in the forefront of your mind for hours even days. You are going along your merry way and all of a sudden you realize that doggone song is rolling around in your mind. You may even, sometimes unknowingly, be humming it or even singing the words to it.
Now that can be a good thing. Example: TLS and I took our granddaughter Quinn to see a high school group perform "Phantom of the Opera." One of our favorite songs from that play is "Music of the Night." For a long time thereafter that song was going around in our minds. We even played it on the piano for Quinn.
Well, let me say that TLS played it for her and I tried to play it (I'm still learning). But, Quinn, even at the age of five-and-half years old immediately knew the song.
Now here's a bad example. When my boys were younger, we took them to Disney World. There is a ride there called "It's a Small, Small World'. All the way through the ride (and the long wait standing in line) all you could hear was that song over and over and over.
It's a small world after all
It's a small world after all
It's a small world after all
It's a small, small world.
See. I told ya. How annoying is that? Even more annoying is the fact that after you go away from the ride you can't get that song out of your mind. It stays in your sub-conscious for a long time.
Those are just small examples of how your mind becomes somewhat preoccupied with something that is hard to shake. But they are two harmless examples, really. Just annoying or pleasing but they don't really affect your mood or your actions.
It is when your mind becomes preoccupied with a negative focus that you really need the help of the Holy Spirit to move beyond it and not let it bring you down. When something is worrying you°maybe it's financial or relational or social or work related°that is when it is time to give thanks for the work of the Holy Spirit. That will begin the process of clearing your mind and resolving a problem.
In fact, Sarah Young said it is a good time to give thanks for the problem because it gives the Holy Spirit an opportunity to work in your life. What do you know about the Holy Spirit? When has he worked in your life and what do you remember about the occasion? The problem you faced. And how the Holy Spirit helped you resolve it.
Billy Graham in his book "The Holy Spirit" tells of a fifth-grade class in which the teacher asked if anyone could explain electricity. One little boy named Jimmy, (not me although that's what they called me back in fifth grade) raised his hand.
The teacher said, "Jimmy how would you explain electricity?"
Jimmy scratched his head for a moment, then said. "Last night I knew it, but this morning I've forgotten."
The teacher shook her head and said to the class, "What a tragedy. The only person in the world ever to understand electricity and he's forgotten."
Now that may be the way it is with you and me and the Holy Spirit. Our minds may be preoccupied with something that is worrying us a lot. We pray about it. The Holy Spirit intercedes, and the problem is solved or goes away. Then we forget about how stressed we were and amazingly that changed. The Holy Spirit came along. We knew it but we forgot it.
Billy Graham said that the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person; He is God. "He is eternal, all-powerful, omnipresent, and omniscient. With all those attributes now wonder no problem that is occupying our mind is too difficult for the Spirit to help us resolve it.
I'm not trying to simplify the understanding of the Holy Spirit and how He works. If I could do that, I would be one of the all-time great theological scholars. There is a lot of mystery surrounding the Holy Spirit. In fact, there is a great mystery concerning the Trinity. Well, let's just say it. God can be very puzzling at times. We cannot fully understand Him.
The good news is we don't have to understand how the Holy Spirit works to reap the benefits and to de-clutter our preoccupied mind. There are lots of mysteries in life that take place and we don't understand them. But we accept them and do so with gratefulness. Prime example is gravity. How does it work? I don't know but I am sure glad it does. Think about what would happen if it didn't?
When you are beset by problems and your mind is preoccupied call on the Holy Spirit for help. And don't forget to give thanks for the problem and then for the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing peace to your preoccupied mind.
Then it will truly seem like a "small, small world" and you won't even have to hear the song. :)
Monday Prayer; Thank you Holy Spirit for easing our troubled, preoccupied minds. Amen!
***author's note: For those of you who may like the song "It's a Small World" written by the Sherman Brothers, Richard and Robert who were songwriters for Disney, I apologize and hope you were not offended. We all have some different likes and dislikes. :)