The remains of Qumran tell an interesting story. Before they discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1946, archaeologists assumed that Qumran had been a military outpost. That was an easy assumption to make because it is located only a few miles from Masada, the mountain fortress built by Herod the Great. However, after the scrolls were found, they discovered that the Essenes had constructed Qumran, a sect of the Jews, who had gone into the wilderness to escape the pollution of the world. Their theme scripture was Isaiah 44:3, “In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God,” They perceived their preparatory role to be in the copying of Biblical manuscripts. When it appeared that their community was to be destroyed, they stored their scrolls in clay pots.
Qumran is in a desolate location. It is situated at the southernmost region of Israel on the shore of the Dead Sea. It is desert in the truest sense of the word. Why did they choose a place like Qumran? They believed there was too much sin in the city. They thought they could remove themselves from temptation by removing themselves from people.
That idea was not unique to the Essenes of Qumran. From the earliest times, the monastic movement in Christianity took men and women out of the world and sent them into wilderness monasteries and convents.
In 1873, they organized Texas Christian University in a little village south of Fort Worth. Many people in that day were scandalized by the wide-open prosperity the arrival of the railroad had brought to the big cities of Texas. Consequently, early advertising from T.C.U. advised parents that their campus was located “forty miles from any known form of sin.”
How then, can we keep a clean mind in a dirty world? If escape is not the answer, what is it? Let us look at Scripture.
How to have a clean mind . . .
1. Remember, who we are. The apostle Peter reminds us that we are “God’s own people” (1 Peter 2:9). Our identity is completed in our relationship to God. We honor our heritage by reflecting the character of our Father.
2. Guard your mind. There is a tremendous emphasis today upon eating the right foods. What we take into our bodies determines our physical health. The same principle is true spiritually. What we put into our minds will be lived out in our lives! If we fill our minds with filth, our body will follow suit. That is why the New Testament urges us to “Be transformed by the renewing of your minds” (Romans 2:2), and “to set our minds on things above, not on earthy things” (Colossians 3:2).
The mind is the battlefield! It we lose there….we lose! Be thoughtful. Be careful. What you read and what you watch on TV will, to a great extent, determines what you become.
And the principle is: “The commandments, do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet, are summed up in this one rule: „Love your neighbor as yourself‟. Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:9-10)
Kevin Rayner, Rochester, Minnesota