Updated: Dec 23, 2019
A well-ordered mind, a mind at peace ~ is it possible to maintain such a thing, even right now in the hustle and bustle of the holidays? Even right now when companies are looking to finish the business year strong? Even right now when you or a loved one has a seemingly impossible diagnosis? Even now when 'all' seems lost?
The writer of Proverbs often has a sage word on right living:
~>Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4.23
Guarding our heart takes intentionality. Augustine suggested that to have a well ordered heart is to love the right thing, to the right degree, in the right way, with the right kind of love, to which I might add at the right time. Could it be that Augustine was commenting on what King Solomon had written a thousand years before him? "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life."1
Intentionality will call for an action plan on our parts, with the seminal thought that without daily connecting with God - in his Word and in personal communication with him (prayer) - our hearts and minds go into the world unguarded.
Here's my holiday challenge: give God the first fifteen minutes of your day. Meditate on his Word and pray. I'm thinking of my cousin, an attorney in Northern California - father of three young children, demanding law practice - and how he might respond: 'But, but ...'I'm so busy I do not have time to pray!' Consider this: the more you have to do, the more you need to pray. The less time you think you have, the more time you need to spend with God.
~>If you'll first take time to pray, you'll actually have more time for everything else - it's not a matter of time, but a matter of priorities and a matter of trust.
When you put God first and rely upon the strength of God's grace to get things done, you become more effective and more efficient.2
Most importantly, you realize it's not all up to you - if you ask him, God will be up ahead, clearing the path and guiding the way.
I have often wondered if it is possible for me to live a life without regret. I think it is - but I will have to intentionally choose to be in the presence of God, to think his thoughts after him, to speak what he gives me to say, to listen in the way he listens, to do what he gives me to do. Without a doubt, the only way to do any of these things - the only way to live a life without regret - is starting each morning with a set apart time with God.
Here's how I set my mind on God and conversely endeavor to get his mind in me every morning. With my Bible and a simple lined notebook, I go to my regular meeting place with coffee in hand and work a plan that helps order my thinking and guard against distraction.
Set Apart time with God
Choose a verse or verses, ask God to help you understand, apply
>Adoration: Our Father who art in Heaven . . . hallowed be
Appreciate God in your own words:
>Confession: Forgive me of my sins
>Asking: Pray for others' needs, specifically
Pray for yourself; be sure to ask God for wisdom, for favor
>Thanksgiving: I thank you, God, for __________ , ___________,
>Listening: Speak to me, Lord. I'm listening . . .
Give God some quiet in which to speak. Write down what you sense he is telling you:
Paul said that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12.2); friends, this is it. This is how we renew our minds - with a set apart time to start the day.
Then - no matter what phone call comes, we are ready. No matter the duress, we can know and walk in the peace of God. A Set Apart daily time with God leads to a well-ordered heart and yes, living a life without regret.
because it is possible,
1 - another take of Prov. 4.23
2 - Inspired by Too Busy Not to Pray, Bill Hybels.