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A Beautiful Mind (# 10)
by David Smith
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. (Philippians 4:8 NIV)

On the east edge of my hometown lies the impressions of history. Literally. For my hometown sits beside the Chisholm Trail.

Well over a century ago, thousands upon thousands of cattle were driven up the Chisholm Trail to market in Kansas from Texas. Though not visible all along the 1,200 mile route, some signs of that Trail are still plain to see today.

You can see it all in your mind's eye - the cattle, the drovers, the wagons and the trail boss. Multiply them over the course of years taking the exact same route through all sorts of weather, and you can imagine how deep the ruts must run. And deep they do run - several feet deep in places. What to the untrained eye might appear to be just another gully wash is actually a groove worn into the planet by the hooves of a multitude of cattle and horses and the wheels of hundreds of wagons.

Given their depth, the impressions of that Trail will last for a long, long time to come.

The same thing is true of our mind. If you think about something long enough and often enough, you'll get to the point where you can't stop thinking about it. It's engrained within us. It is "us." For we shape our thoughts and our thoughts shape us.

You were taught . . . to put off your old self . . . to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV)

I ask you plainly - what is the groove which runs down the center of your spirit? Was it made by the cross of Jesus Christ? What does that mark say ? Does it declare Jesus is your Lord each day? What impression does it make on others? Is it a lasting impression of the goodness of God?

The things which are genuine and respected, morally right and pure, beautiful in God's eyes and truly admirable, virtuous and worthy of approval and praise. These are the things with which to fill your mind for these are the things of God and are the things which make for a beautiful mind. So:

. . . set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3 NIV)

And remember that when Paul said "think about such things," he meant much more than "give these things a thought on occasion" or "meditate on these things often." He meant dwell on these things and make them the center of your life with Christ. Think of such things in such a way so as to allow them to cut a channel through your soul that they might make a deep, lasting impression for others to see. For what others see in you is simply an expression of what you think.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy . . . be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:1-2 NIV)

For Jesus sake and my own, make me Yours, My God. From the inside out. All the way from my mind to all my life's matters. To Your glory. Amen.


For further study of all of Paul's letter to the Philippians, I would recommend the following works (listed here in alphabetical order by the author's last name):

  • Philippians by Fred Craddock (part of the 'Interpretation' commentary series; especially good in application; preacher-types will go ga-ga over Craddock's insights into matters easily overlooked).

  • The Letter of Paul to the Philippians by Pat E. Harrell (part of 'The Living Word Commentary' series published by ACU Press in Abilene, TX; a wonderful commentary for "the average Joe in the pew," though a bit dated now by its reliance on the RSV as a base text).

  • Philippians by Gerald Hawthorne (part of the 'Word Biblical Commentary' series; everything you'd ever want to know - and perhaps more).


    For further reading on the Christian mind, you may want to consider the following resources (listed here in alphabetical order by the author's last name):

  • Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster (particularly part one of this three-part book).

  • The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A'Kempis (the book to choose if you read only one on this list; a classic you will find yourself consulting time and again).

  • Making Choices by Peter Kreeft (good for anyone, but should be required reading for any college student taking a philosophy class).

  • The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence (the second book to read if you read only two on this list; this book will revolutionize the way you think about prayer and God's presence).

  • The Quest for Character by Charles Swindoll (teacher-types will appreciate the excellent index and preacher-types will rejoice that Swindoll's wonderful illustrations are indexed, too).


    (This marks the conclusion of the ten-part devotional series entitled "A Beautiful Mind" based on Philippians 4:8)

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