Why Mindfulness and Christianity are Compatible
Christianity, in many ways, has caused anxiety and fears because of the emphasis on sin and hell. Many believers have been taught that even the most minor misdemeanour requires hellfire from a small child. Therefore, to think of oneself as having a ‘worth’ escape many.
Reformed theologians have criticized mindfulness as being a ‘religion of self’. This claim is another dangerous doctrine that takes away the preciousness of our living and puts us into fear and despair.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying there is no sin, and the wage of sin is death. That’s true; what I am saying is that the merciful goodness of God runs a lot deeper than ours.
Children are often taught about the fundamentalist belief in hell and wrongdoing to keep them in control. The idea is to scare the ‘hell’ out of them. But the result is empty religiosity because of fear and not out of a love relationship with God.
Mindfulness is a simple way to ease our fears by stilling our minds, so we can focus on good things, as we see in Philippians 5: 16.
The fundamentalist Church teaches the cessation of self, where we can escape God’s wrath. The cure is facing ourselves and our sins and by repentance and faith being reconciled to God.
If we are in fellowship with God through Jesus Christ, the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, where perfect love casts out fear. The rule of God in our lives is productive of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, who is with us forever.
St Paul declares that we have the mind of Christ because Christ was in perfect fellowship with his Father, and as we walk in the love and grace of God, we are shrouded in Gods’ loving embrace. Therefore, the Christian can rest in the Lord, filling our minds with his word of truth and applying it to our circumstances, which takes spirit, mind, and body discipline.
As the Psalmist says, “I meditate on all that you have done, I ponder the work of your hands,” and “I will meditate on all your statutes.” Mindfulness, therefore, helps in this regard.
St Paul declares that we have the mind of Christ because Christ was in perfect fellowship with his Father, and as we walk in the love and grace of God, we are shrouded in Gods’ loving embrace. Therefore, the Christian can rest in the Lord, filling our minds with his word of truth and applying it to our circumstances, which takes spirit, mind, and body discipline. We can become mindful as we focus upon God’s creation. Mindfulness can help us appreciate what God has put in front of us at this moment. How many times have you missed the leading of the Holy Spirit because you were not focusing on what was put in front of you?
How many times were you distracted from what is really important? Maybe you were thinking about the next thing to do and failed to notice what God was saying to you?
Mindfulness is a discipline of the mind, and the Bible tells us to take control of our minds. How can one allow the mind of Christ to come to the fore if your mind is undisciplined?
So many times, in Christianity, we spiritualize stuff that should be accepted on a purely practical basis. Mindfulness is an efficient practice to help you to enable the mind of Christ to dominate in your life.
I encourage you- don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, allow your mind to be disciplined through mindfulness, which is an easy, sure way to achieve this.
Christianity Today writes that ‘Mindfulness is our God-given, universal capacity for awareness and attention.’
One example of how it works is in dealing with anxiety. A non-mindful person might think, “I am an anxious person”. Someone trained in Mindfulness might think, “I have an anxious thought.”
Mindfulness and Jesus teach us that we are not our thoughts and feelings –Matthew 6:34.
We are not defined by our stress, anxiety, and fearfulness. Instead, we can witness them as overcomers and not victims. Christianity today explains that it’s the difference between being on a train of thought and a hilltop looking down at the train.
The command of Scripture regarding all our fears and anxieties is to cast them all upon God because he cares for us, and in so doing, God will keep those in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on him, because he trusts in you” (Isa. 26:3). God’s peace will guard our minds, not empty them (Phil. 4:7), and it is this reality, not cessation, that surpasses all understanding.
Mindfulness helps you to ‘stay’ your mind on God.
I have many blogs and videos about Mindfulness for beginners to help you to get started, be sure to check them out.
Also, if you have stress and anxiety, Mindfulness will help with that. Check out my course – it will lead you through the basics of Mindfulness.
Paula Rose has a Bachelor of Pastoral Counselling and Theology, Vision Christian University, USA. Master of Arts In Counselling & Professional Development, specializing in Spiritual Abuse The University of Derby, UK. BACP Life Coaching Course, Bristol, UK
A life member of (ISFP) The International Society of Female Professionals.
Paula is an Ordained Minister, Blogger, Podcaster, Course Creator, Published Author and has a Master of Arts in Counselling and many other qualifications and a lifetime so, I have heaps to share with you.
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