My Normal Mind
Today’s passage in Ephesians is difficult for many of us to understand. What does Paul mean by “the eyes of your heart flooded with light” (v. 18)? I believe he’s referring to the mind, because that’s what needs enlightenment. It’s with our minds that we grasp God’s truths and hold to them.
Too many of us have a hard time being “flooded with light” because we’re distracted with countless other things. Here, Paul prays for us to have what I call a normal mind—a mind that’s open to the Holy Spirit’s work—so we can follow God’s plan and live the abundant lives He has for us.
One way to process the idea of a normal mind is to look at two of Jesus’ friends, Mary and Martha. Most people know the story of these sisters and the time Jesus visited their home in Bethany. Martha scurried around, making certain that everything was situated exactly right, while Mary sat down to listen to Jesus. Luke says Martha “was distracted with much serving” (see Luke 10:40), and she complained to Jesus that she needed her sister’s help.
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things”, Jesus told her, and then He commended Mary for having chosen the “good portion.” (see verse 41).
As I thought about that incident, I realized Martha’s problem went deeper than simply being distracted with that night’s preparations. Her mind was probably always jumping around, trying to make everything as perfect as possible. The implication is that even if there had been nothing more to do, Martha wouldn’t have stopped to sit at Jesus’ feet. She was so caught up in busyness that her mind would have searched for something else to do.
The Marthas seem to be in control of our world, don’t they? They’re usually the ones who get things done, and when they’re not accomplishing their own goals, they’re often telling others what they should do. In today’s world of multitasking, the Marthas appear to get the awards and the accolades. Busy all the time, they wear their busyness like a badge, as if it makes them more important.
Marthas’ busyness can easily distract them from developing a solid relationship with God. They’re the ones who often lack depth of peace and rarely experience contentment. That is, they don’t have what God considers a normal mind; it’s not in the calm condition He would want it to be in. On top of that, people who are excessively busy can’t even sleep when they lie down at night. They’re either going back over the day’s activities or making mental lists of tasks for the next day.
This is not the lifestyle Jesus calls us to. As believers, we are spiritual beings, but we’re also natural, and both parts of us must be cared for. The Bible makes it clear that the mind and the spirit work together. That’s the principle I call “the mind aiding the spirit.” For this to happen, we must learn to pull back from all the distractions around us and let Jesus speak to our soul.
There will always be demands on our time and energy, and we can always find plenty to do. But if we want to live with the mind of Christ, the one that should be normal for Christians, it means we must learn to imitate Mary. Despite all the clamor and activities going on around her, she was able to sit, relax, and listen to the voice of the Master. That’s how our mind is supposed to work–it should be calm, quiet and following the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
If you know that your mind has been behaving abnormally, ask God to forgive you and to help you. He’ll give you the grace you need to trust Him enough to sit at His feet, listen to His voice, and receive His never-ending love for you.
Prayer Starter: Dear God, distractions are constantly coming at me. When I try to pause and focus on You, my mind gravitates to the dozens of things I need to do. I realize that I truly need only one thing—to focus on You. Please help me push away every distraction and noise so I can hear only Your voice that’s always saying, “Come unto Me, and I will give you rest.” Thank You for Your gift of rest! In Jesus’ name, amen.