An open Bible and a cup of coffee.

From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!’ But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.’”

Matthew 16:21-23

In the Buddhist tradition, right mindfulness is an essential component in moving towards spiritual enlightenment. On this view, human suffering comes through our desire to acquire or retain certain things in this life. If one can stop desiring things altogether then all of his suffering in this life would cease (so the story goes). In order to help with this, the Buddhist (borrowing from Hinduism’s Raja Yoga), deliberately shuts his mind off through meditation. He strives to literally think about nothing. This is right mindfulness according to these eastern traditions. This “doctrine of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1) is antithetical to biblical teaching in every way. According to the Bible, right mindfulness means being mindful of God and His known will. Being mindful of God, moment by moment throughout the day, is not only appropriate, it is a moral imperative! God is the supreme rational and moral authority in every and all circumstances. He not only deserves our mindfulness, we actually need His wisdom and insight as a practical necessity just to navigate through this life. Paul’s prayer for the Colossian believers, which is certainly applicable to us also, was that they might be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding (Colossians 1:9). Whereas the Buddhist seeks to eliminate all desires in his life, the Bible recognizes that this is a foolish and impossible task (imagine spending your life desiring to end all desire; that is like a cat chasing its own tail!). Instead, the Bible counsels us to first delight ourselves in the Lord (Psalm 37:4a). This is accomplished through the prayerful reading of His word. In the Scriptures God reveals Himself to us as maximally lovely. He shows Himself powerful and dependable, merciful and mighty. His coming into the world in the Person of His Beloved Son is the maximal expression of every great-making property. Truly His love is matchless (1 John 3:1-2), His greatness is unsearchable (Romans 11:33). So far from recommending that we stifle our desires, the Bible promises that if we will delight ourselves in the LORD, He will give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4b). In other words, if we commit to being mindful of Him (true right mindfulness) and delighting in Who He is, He will place within our hearts the desires He wants there. In an amazing expression of love, He will also graciously grant those very desires. Now THAT is a God worth worshiping! Amen and Amen!

God bless,

pastor john