In the last two posts, I explored the cultural interest in mindfulness and the importance of mindfulness in becoming men. In this post I want to turn another corner. How can mindfulness form men into Christ? How can it be help them along on the most important journey of their lives, becoming like Jesus, the great Man of all time?
Two Foundational Truths
Let’s start here. There are two foundational truths that permeate every line in the Old Testament: God is always present, and He is always working. When Jesus came, He simply took those two truths and wrapped them around His own unique personhood. Listen to how He sends off the disciples after His resurrection: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). And hear how He defends His healing miracles on the Sabbath: “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working” (John 5:17). When a man chooses to follow Jesus, those two truths leap from being a vague concept into a potent reality.
And potent they are. Every sin and addiction, every dysfunction and neurosis, every fear and anxiety in a man’s heart all have the same root cause: he feels alienated from the source of life, the living God. To connect back to God is to have that alienation melt away. He feels God close and present. He senses God near and working. That presence and work acts like a slow time-release medication, healing a man’s heart, opening that heart to the love that has always known him. This is the love that forms him into the image of Christ Himself.
But here is the catch. We are to become men, not automatons. God seems to want real live men — awake, aware, alive. He wants us to be able to stand with fortitude and act with courage. So to become the sons He desires means by its very nature that we learn to participate in this process. We learn to live alongside His presence and work, partnering with Him in the colossal adventure of building His kingdom. Incredible as it may seem, it’s the partnership that He wants. But how do we partner with Him?
We become mindful.
Remember mindfulness is just being attentive to what we are feeling at any given moment. So what are to become mindful of here? We become mindful of His presence in us, always wanting to father us as His sons. We become mindful of His work in us, coaching us in both the mundane and momentous affairs of life. We also become mindful of all that keeps us living on our own steam, the old patterns that still vie for our attention. Now aw we become more aware of His daily presence and work, we respond more quickly and easily to it. We become partners with Him. In doing so, we become more like His Son, who perfectly partnered with Him, doing His will to the end, even when it cost Him His life.
Stopping To Dream
So let’s close this post out by stopping to dream a little. What would happen to your life as a man if you became more mindful? What could God do with you as you partner with Him in His work? What could you accomplish? What interior freedom could you experience as you sense His intimate presence with you? What kind of man would you become? Go ahead and dream a little. Then dream some more. Don’t worry, you can’t outdream God on this one. Whatever you concoct, it’s probably far too small.
Listen to how Paul expressed mindfulness: “He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me” (Col. 1:28-29). Did you catch that? Paul was hyper-mindful of the energy and presence of Christ working in him. That’s what gave him the immense drive to complete the quest He was given to proclaim Christ.
Think that was just for Paul alone? Think again. The annals of church history are jammed full with men who experienced what Paul did. It’s there, available for any man who chooses to become mindful.
Right now as you read this post, God is present and working. Are you aware? Are you listening? Are you mindful?
PS. In next week’s post, I will offer some practical helps for becoming more mindful. Stay tuned…