How Your Mind is Like an Archaeological Dig

Time is no friend to an unintentional spiritual life.

Time does its natural work of hiding the truth. Archaeology proves it so. Go anywhere biblical history happened in Israel, and it looks different than when the event occurred. Sometimes, the difference is amazing.

How Your Mind is Like an Archaeological Dig

(Photo: Robinson’s Arch with new excavations. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

I remember a dirt road beside my grandfather’s farm where I used to ride my bike as a boy. I went by that road recently, and it had completely grown over with weeds. No trace of that old road at all! Gone—after only a few decades.

Whenever I go to Israel, I see dozens of sites where biblical history unfolded. But without the archaeologist’s spade, the places of biblical events would lie hidden beneath centuries of erosion, overgrowth, and destruction.

It takes digging to see the sites. Why? Time does its natural work of hiding the truth.

The same proves true with your mind.

Archaeology Reveals the Original

One of the most startling contrasts of then and now in Jerusalem comes by viewing the remains of Robinson’s Arch. In the photo below of the model of Jerusalem in Jesus’ time, you can see (at the arrow) an arch that supported a massive staircase that led up to the Temple Mount.

Jerusalem model, Robinson's Arch

(Photo: Jerusalem model, Robinson’s Arch. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

All that remains of this arch are the stones that supported it, which now protrude from the southwest corner of the Temple Mount. The photos below reveal the amazing amount of debris that accumulated through the centuries, as well as all that lay beneath it once archaeologists cleared it away.

Notice the ground below the children’s feet at left—and compare its level with the current ground at right.

Robinson's Arch then and now

(Photo: Robinson’s Arch then and now. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The rubble on this first century street occurred because the Romans destroyed the Temple and hurled its stones below. Jesus predicted it would occur (Matt. 24:2; Mark 13:2).

Your Mind is an Archeological Dig

The Jerusalem of Jesus’ day lies buried 30 feet below the city of today. The layers of debris came from Jerusalem’s many wars, as well as the natural erosion of time, neglect, and the backfill of political bickering. Regardless, it takes painstaking digging to see the original.

In many ways, archaeology reminds me of the spiritual life.

  • Left to itself, your mind grows weeds—and eventually, forests.
  • The battles in your mind deposit their debris over our original commitment to the Bible and its teachings.
  • The winds of change, as well as our fallen nature, continually blow a thin layer of dust over our walk with God. The buildup eventually buries it.

Like the proverbial sluggard, we can awaken after a while to discover our wall broken down, our field grown over, and our spiritual life buried (Prov. 24:30–34).

Time to Get Your Shovel

To see the original, true places where biblical events occurred in Israel, you have to dig. In the same way, the Bible speaks to the renewal of the mind, because left to itself, our mind succumbs to erosion, deterioration, and rot—“the pattern of this world” (Rom. 12:1–2).

I love Paul’s words to the Colossians:

Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. —Colossians 3:2–4

Time does its natural work of hiding the truth. Archaeology proves it so, and so does your spiritual life. See any dust on your walk with God? Maybe even layers of debris? Either way, you and I need to reaffirm our commitment to our regular time with the Lord—in His Word, in prayer, and in serving Him alongside others.

Time is no friend to an unintentional spiritual life. Developing and preserving your biblical mindset takes a deliberate, daily commitment.

Tell me what you think: How do you keep the dust off your spiritual life? To leave a comment, just click here.

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