Are You In Charge of Yourself?

Rule your mind or it will rule you. — Horace

Who’s in charge? Horace was an ancient writer of much wisdom. Firmly in the wisdom tradition of discovering how to live a successful life, he pondered these essential truths.

You actually have a choice in what your mind dwells on. You can decide to allow your mind to dwell on self-pity, negativity, jealousy, aggression. Or, you can choose to focus on things of God’s Kingdom, as in “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.”

This is both an awesome burden and an fantastic power. You can choose to be free–much as Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatians. Left to its own devices, our minds will be swayed by changing emotions, perceived slights, the last advertisement we see. It is up to us as full-functioning human beings to choose what we think about.

It is a little weird to talk about ruling your mind in a Christian context if you have misconceptions about what it means to be a Christ-follower. I’ve certainly read enough philosophy and theology to see how so many people misinterpret words such as submit, be a slave, a prisoner of God, and so on.

But Jesus, our teacher whom we seek to emulate, while submitting to the will of God also was a strong person. There were times he had to fight internally to achieve power over his mind–as so eloquently told in the Garden of Gethsemane story. But he also was quite in charge of his mind during his 40 days of temptation following his baptism both by John and by God.

Most often the meaning behind submit and serve is putting other people’s needs before our needs. Or, God’s need before our need. Sorry, Boomers*, it is Not all about you.

It’s wonderful and scary to realize that we have so much power over what we become. I’m in awe. But I accept the challenge.

*Technically, I’m a Boomer, too.

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