by Melvin T Mason
The Soul is said to be the seat of our mind, will and emotions. Within our soul (a.k.a. the heart of man) we wrestle with “the issues of Life” [Prov.4:20-27]. In this second section of his bestselling book, “Disciplines Of A Godly Man,” R. Kent Hughes moves from the others-focused aspects of a man (Relationships), and takes a deep dive into the individual, more personal dimensions that house our logic, motivations, and sensibilities. The first chapter in this section deals with the Discipline of Mind.
Hughes starts out this chapter with a sad revelation. The human mind, the very thing that was created to ultimately house the mind of Christ, is seldom used for Christ-like thinking, particularly among Christian men! The author says this is primarily because we aren’t taking the time to program this “amazing instrument God has given us.” The programming process for a wholesome, healthy mind occurs in two steps:
- refusal of certain corrupt, non-constructive input [Ps.101:2-4], which Hughes contends comes predominantly from the media we expose ourselves to, and then
- filling the mind with reputable, healthy input [Phil.4:8].
Hughes writes, “The computer between your ears does not miss a thing. Your eyes are its camera … your ears are running audio-recorders, your nose registers the aromas of what you see & hear, your body feels it all — and your brain stores it all. Therefore take great care as to what you put into it.” The author continues, ”Men, you must take control of the time you spend sitting in default mode in front of the [TV/computer/phone] screen. It’s the hours that will do you in. Along with the hours, we must also take control of the content.” One of the slickest tactics used to morally-soften our minds is to get us to laugh at content that ought to make us cry or be angry or feel appalled! Refuse and avoid things that feed the weaknesses you struggle with, such as: pride, sensuality, jealousy, anger and even tolerance of depravity.
For this step, Hughes directs our attention to Phil. 4:8. “Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.” (TLB) These thoughts can come from conversations with like-minded (or better-minded!) friends and acquaintances, wholesome reading, encouraging films & podcasts, and other forms of positive input.
Also, the author points out that men are more likely than women to buy a Bible, yet far less likely to actually read it! But if you’re chock-full of God’s Word, then your life (your relationships, your ethical decisions, and your inner thoughts & morality) will be informed & directed by your Creator. What a great trade-off!
The bottom line, gentlemen, is that we need to diligently protect and program our minds for greatness and personal growth. “Our programming determines our production.”