Yes, it’s true, because only you can decide how to live your own life, your life is your own, and no one can take that away from you.
I mean duh right?
However, once we more deeply explore what this actually means, I think you might discover something a little more thought-provoking.
Let’s start off by agreeing on what we can say we know for sure about the aspects of our own lives.
1. We can all agree that our lives are a set of experiences
That is to say, in each of our lives, certain events will always take place. These events could be as monumental as getting married or as mundane as waking up each morning.
2. We can all agree that how we respond to each of these numerous experiences is completely up to our judgment and our judgment alone.
So for example, our parents can’t make us want to go to church, only we can make ourselves want to go to church. While they could convince us to want to go, in the end, it is our own decision determine whether our opinion of going is pleasing or discomforting.
We have opinions of and preferences on the types of experiences that we have in our lives.
3. We can all agree that the experiences that we have in life can be categorized into three groups, the thoughts that we have in our minds, the feelings that we have in our bodies, or a combination of the two.
This may seem far out there but consider this, your dreams are experiences yes?
Your dreams, thoughts, artistic visions, and other things of this nature are experiences that can appear to you as clearly as your own reflection in a mirror.
Because the sensations of our physical bodies are in no way influential on our experiences with dreams and thoughts, it’s safe to conclude that there is a distinct type of experience that occurs only in our minds and not our bodies despite how often or rare such an experience might be for you personally.
Is that fair?
Now the case of feelings we have from our bodies is self-explanatory because everyone has experienced some sort of bodily sensation before.
It could have been the pain you felt when you scrapped your knee after running while you were little our it could have been the warmth you felt when you got into a hot tub for the very first time.
Whatever the case may be for you, these physical sensations are the result of the world around us directly affecting our human bodies in a way that is completely independent of our conscious thoughts.
If I get in a hot tub and think about absolutely nothing, I will still have an experience of warmth and bubbliness, regardless of if I think about it or not, it’s that simple.
Finally, in the case of an experience that is comprised of both thoughts and feelings, you are reading this post right now.
Your physical eyes are seeing letters on your screen right now and your thoughtful mind is determining what words these certain combinations of letters are forming as well as considering the possible point I’m trying to make by presenting you with all this information.
Well, the argument I am making is this, you should value your thoughts and dreams more than you value your physical feelings because it will help you live your life with greater meaning and purpose.
More often than not, when we think about the question “what do I live for?”, most of us are quick to believe the choices are between a life of good or a life of evil or perhaps even a life in God or a life in the world.
However, what I propose is that real choice is not between such lofty and abstract ideals but rather between the two distinct realities of life that are not only fundamental to the foundation of each of our human experiences but are also the single most influential aspects of the principle decisions that we make on a daily basis.
The single most important choice we must make when we decide what we live for is the choice of either the love of our physical feelings or the love of the thoughts of our minds.
The reality is that even if you have already decided to put God first in your life (and I highly recommend you do), that does not necessarily mean that you have made God your central reason for living.
Romans 12:2 reads,
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
As this verse reads, it is only by the renewal of our minds that we may be able to follow after God in the best way we possibly can.
Yet it also read that in the renewal of our minds we can also be more able to discern what is truly good and perfect in the world and hence, help us live the best lives we possibly can through our ability to discern what is good in life and what is evil.
Sounds good yeah?
Well the problem is, we can’t renew our minds if 1) we don’t even like to think that kind of stuff and 2) we prefer to have more physical and bodily experiences over more spiritual and thoughtful ones.
The simple nature of physical experiences and spiritual experiences is that they are constantly butting heads with each other.
More often than not, what we really want to do physically is directly confronted by what we know we should do spiritually and the end result is that we must allow our inner desires to choose either one or the other.
You know that feeling of having a little devil on your left shoulder and a little angel on your right one?
What the little devil would tell you to do is the prefer the pleasure of physical experiences more than that of spiritual ones because if he can get you allow yourself to forget the morality of your spiritual side, he beats the angel.
On the other hand, the little angle would tell you to prefer the satisfaction of spiritual and thoughtful experiences more than that of physical ones because if he can get you to be mindful of the danger of your physical side, he beats the devil.
The endless struggle between the desire for physical pleasure and spiritual satisfaction is as old as mankind itself and is simultaneously the most important decision we make in our lives.
Though it may seem impossible to constantly choose our reason and morality over the things that we just really want to do, an easy way of accomplishing this daunting task is to make the things that we really want to do grounded in our reason and morality.
And the only way to accomplish that is to truly value the thoughtful and cognitive experiences that we have in everyday life more than our physical ones.
This doesn’t mean to say that all physical experiences are bad or that all thoughtful experiences are necessarily good, rather it means that by centering who you are and what you live for in the betterment of your mind and the cleansing of your spirit, you can live a truly awesome life.
I’ll be the first to admit that grounding ourselves in the growth our minds rather than the leisure our bodies may at first sound difficult, troublesome, and above all else, kinda boring, but it is actually in many ways the exact opposite.
In grounding yourself in your mind, you’ll find that you can do things that you never the possible, and one of the best examples of this is in the arts.
All art has one thing in common in that the artist expresses something to a viewer.
This could be through paint on a canvas, music from an instrument, or even words on a page.
In any case, where there is an artist attempting to communicate to a spectator or viewer, there is art.
Yet every great artist had one thing in common, they have learned to put aside the physical distractions of their body so that their minds can more readily remain clear and focused and therefore, ready to create memorable art.
Now I’m not saying that living for the purity of your mind means you have to be next Picasso or anything like that.
However, what I am saying is that living for the purity of mind will help you be the best version of yourself you can possibly be because it will allow to think better, do better, and live better.
But the most important aspect of living for the purity of mind is that it helps you love God better because the more and more you keep your mind clear and open to him, the more you will realize how impossible the idea of living for God without purity of mind actually is.
As we just read in Romans 12:2, to live for God, must first know the will of God and that can only be accomplished after you have renewed your mind through his word.
Therefore, you can’t live for God just by saying you do or just because the idea of it sounds pleasant.
If you don’t renew your mind, you can not know the will of God, and thus you can not live for what you do not know.
But you didn’t hear it from me, you heard it from Romans 12:2.
Life is yours, so live for the enrichment of your thoughts and not the satisfaction of your body.
By doing this, we allow ourselves to enjoy the process of renewing our minds so that we may not only be better able to know and enact the will of God on earth, we can also have the time of our lives while doing it.
Live, Learn, and Love.
Thanks for Reading!