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 misdemeanor requires hellfire from a small child. Therefore, to think of oneself as having a ‘worth’ escape many.
Reformed theologians have criticised 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 I believe sin’s wages are eternal death. However, what I am saying is that the merciful goodness of God runs a lot deeper than any sin. The good news is that the power of sin is conquered through the cross and resurrection. Therefore it would do us good to focus our attention on that truth rather than on the details of punishment and hell.
THE MIS-USE OF THE DOCTRINE OF HELL
Children are often taught about the extreme fundamentalist view of hell and wrongdoing to keep them in control. The idea is to scare the ‘hell’ out of them. But the result is that the child grows into an empty religiosity void of love and grace and missing out on a deep, personal relationship with the loving Creator God.
These children may develop such a deep fear that motivates them into subjection. Furthermore, as adults, they may inflict that same fear upon others. Therefore, the sad thing is that they may never experience a genuinely loving relationship with God.
MINDFULNESS and GOD
Mindfulness is a practical and straightforward way to ease our fears by stilling our minds, so we can focus on the good things of God, as we see in Philippians 2 from verse 5.
5 In your relationships with one another have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 instead, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledges that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
THE FEAR FACTOR
When we are honest with ourselves and confess and turn away from our sins, we are reconciled to God by repentance and faith. Then it’s up to us how our relationship with God develops. We can choose to image God as a wrathful God or one who is full of grace, mercy, and love. Fear moves us toward the wrathful God-image. Fear blocks our understanding and experience of grace and mercy.
If we are in genuine fellowship with God through Jesus Christ, the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, and this is where perfect love casts out all fear. Fear is an enemy of God and, therefore, our enemy. Fear distorts our view of God, ourselves, and others. It colours our perceptions, wrapping our decisions making, thus turning us into hardnosed religious people.
But when we embrace a love relationship with God, casting out all fear, we enter a productive, righteous, peaceful, and joyful spirituality. We bask in the Son in the Holy Spirit, who is with us forever.
HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST
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 God’s loving embrace. Therefore, the Christian can rest in the Lord. Our relationship with God deepens as we fill our minds with his word of truth and then apply it to our circumstances; however, this takes spirit, mind, and body discipline.
How many times were you distracted from what is really important? Maybe you thought about the next thing to do and failed to notice what God said to you?
So many times, in Christianity, we over spiritualise stuff that should be accepted on a purely practical basis. Mindfulness is an efficient practice to help you to have the mind of Christ.
I encourage you- don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater by outright rejecting Mindfulness. Instead, be open to new possibilities by allowing your mind to be disciplined through a Mindfulness lifestyle.
A helpful illustration of God and Mindfulness is found in the Christianity Today magazine, which 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.
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.
Try Mindfulness today- it may change the way you perceive God, yourself, others, and the world around you! To help you to learn more about Mindfulness, click on the links below to short articles to help you.
People ask me how they learn mindfulness this video answers some of that questions.