Part 1: Love – The Foundation
Part 2: The Heart
Part 3: The Soul
OUR MIND CAN BE CONFUSED
“…the Lord will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of mind.” – Deuteronomy 28:28
THE MIND IS GIVEN UNDERSTANDING BY GOD.
“who has put wisdom in the inward parts or given understanding to the mind?” – Job 38:36
THE MIND CAN BE TWISTED
“A man is commended according to his good sense, but one of twisted mind is despised. – Proverbs 12:8
OUR MIND CAN AFFECT OUR ACTIONS
“Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.” Remembering who God was would cause them to stand firm. – Isaiah 46:8-9
WHAT WE CALL TO MIND CAN GIVE US HOPE, DESPITE OUR CIRCUMSTANCES
“Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” –
IF IT’S NOT IN OUR MIND, IT’S LIKE IT NEVER HAPPENED
“And when you have multiplied and been fruitful in the land, in those days, declares the Lord, they shall no more say, “The Ark of the covenant of the Lord.” It shall not come to mind or be remembered or missed; it shall not be made again.” – Jeremiah 3:16
WHAT WE SET OUR MINDS ON RESULT IN WHAT OUR DAY-TO-DAY CHOICES ARE.
Peter’s mindset resulted in going outside the will of God.
“But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” – Matthew 16:23
WHAT WE THINK ABOUT INFLUENCES OUR HEALTH AND SPIRITUAL POSITION.
“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” – Romans 8:6
THE MIND CAN EITHER BE CONFORMED OR RENEWED
“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.” – Romans 12:2
DESIRES OF THE MIND CAN GO AGAINST THE NEW MAN
“Among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” – Ephesians 2:3
WE ARE CORRUPTED IN MIND WHEN WE OPPOSE THE TRUTH
“Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith.” – 2 Timothy 3:8
OUR MIND CAN BE HUMBLE
1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, all of you, have unit of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.”
So how do we apply this?
Because our mind can be confused, we stay in the light. I don’t know about you, but the easiest way to get me confused about my direction is to put me in a dark room. I have no way of knowing where my boundaries are, what direction I need to go in, or what the reality of my situation is. I could be about to run headfirst into a wall, fall down stairs, or step on a Lego. (You can decide which one of those is the worst option.) I can grope about in the dark, but I don’t have to. I just have to turn the lights on. Zechariah, in his prophecy concerning his son John, tell us “for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:76-79) Even Jesus himself tells us in John 11:10 that if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.
Since the mind is given understanding by God, we cannot serve God through our own earthly “understanding”. “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.” Proverbs 28:26 It’s like having an instruction manual right in front of us and we chose to go without it. Your end product will look nothing like the intended result. It just doesn’t work.
Because the mind can be twisted, we keep our eyes on the goal. (Philippians 3:14) When we twist our head to look at something behind us or beside us, our forward motion automatically starts to lean the way we look. When you’re driving, we know to look forward. Because the minute our attention gets grabbed by that person walking down the street or wondering why these people got pulled over is the minute we may find ourselves with a twisted car and damage to repair. (speaking to myself here…) Even if we think we know where we’re going, the paths we will need to take, the turns that will need to be navigated, and the potholes and roadblocks that may turn up unexpectedly, it doesn’t mean we can put on cruise and let our attention drift everywhere and anywhere. Defensive and safe driving requires 100% concentration, and so does the road of life.
(The next two points are closely related, so I’m grouping them together.) Because our mind can affect our actions, we take responsibility for our thoughts. And because our thoughts are so important as to not only affect what our day-to-day choices are, but also our health and spiritual position, we think about things that are pure, true, honorable, just, lovely, commendable, excellent, or worthy of praise. (James 4:8) When we choose to see the best in people, we give our best to them. Our best thoughts, our best time, our best words. Choosing to have Christ-tinted glasses results in Christ-centered actions.
Because we can forget things as if they never happened if we don’t bring them to mind, we constantly remember the sacrifice that has been made for us and the responsibility we bear as ambassadors for Christ. It’s why we are commanded in Luke 22 and 1 Corinthians 11 to participate in the Lord’s supper every first day of the week. Because in contrast to what so many people today believe, taking it once a week does indeed bring about the remembrance needed to live our lives as a holy sacrifice. If taking the Lord’s Supper once a week results in it being not as meaningful, that’s on you, not on God. But we don’t reserve Sunday as the one time we remember Christ and His sacrifice. “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel,” (2 Timothy 2:8) There is no time specified in Paul’s letter to Timothy in which we are to remember Christ.
Because there is a choice to be made between conforming or renewal, be aware that you are making a choice, even if you don’t realize it. If we aren’t actively choosing renewal, we are passively choosing conformation. We must remember that if you don’t fill empty space with good, evil comes back in twice as potent. (Luke 11:24-26)
Because the desires of our flesh can go against the new man, we must constantly be on guard and put on the armor of God. (A good friend of mine is right in the middle of taking each piece of the armor of God much like I am with the Greatest Command. Go check out her posts on the armor of God here!)
When we realize that we are corrupted when we oppose the truth, we examine our beliefs. Because none of us want this to happen to us: “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:22-23) This will mean we don’t stay in our comfort zones just because that’s what we’ve always been taught, or because we will be ostracized from our family if we choose to follow the truth.
There are many, many words throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament that are translated ‘mind’. Some of these same words can also be translated “heart”, and the NKJV will translate it heart the majority of the time compared to the ESV. Many words have been translated ‘mind’, all meaning something a little bit different based on the context. But most of the original words have the common definitions of perceiving, understanding, or the exercise of mental function. Many times in the NKJV “repented” would even be the same Hebrew or Greek word as “changed his mind” in the ESV. (*fun fact: The word translated as mind in Revelation 2:23 is most often used to mean kidney…)
But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
Philippians 2:2, 5
complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind… Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
phroneo – to exercise the mind, that is, to entertain or have a sentiment or opinion, to be mentally disposed one way or another. intensively to interest oneself in (with concern or obedience), set the affection on. (Strongs)
to direct one’s mind to a thing, to seek, strive for (Thayers)
but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.
nous – the mind, comprising alike the faculties of perceiving, understanding, and those of feeling, judging, determining. The faculty of perceiving divine things, of recognizing goodness and hating evil. (Thayer)
While it was interesting to see all the different Hebrew and Greek words that were translated mind, and to use them in my study, I’m only going to tackle one in defining what it means to love God. And that is the Greek word “dianoia”, which is the word of choice used in the Greatest Command to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. These other words help to paint the picture of what our mind is, and how we can use it to the best of our ability to love the Lord, but “dianoia” is the heart of the matter.
Strong’s defined “dianoia” as ‘deep thought, properly the faculty, mind, or it’s disposition. Another word study I came across defined “dianoia” as:
“thoroughly, from side-to-side, properly, movement from one side (of an issue) to the other to reach balanced-conclusions; full-orbed reasoning (= critical thinking), i.e. dialectical thinking that literally reaches “across to the other side” (of a matter).
From what I could find in the ESV, there were a few other verses that used this same “dianoia” word.
Luke 1:51 “He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;”
Ephesians 2:3 “among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
Ephesians 4:18 “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.”
Colossians 1:21 “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,”
Hebrews 8:10 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
1 Peter 1:13 “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
2 Peter 3:1 “This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder.”
1 John 5:20 “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”
So how do we love God with all of our mind, using just the definitions from “dianoia”?
We don’t take what we have been taught as truth point blank. We test all things to determine whether they are of the truth. We know not only why something is right, but why the other side of the spectrum is wrong. Loving God means knowing the why of how we worship, conduct our lives, and the backbone of our principles. God has given us a mind, and He expects us to use it.
When we are firm in our foundations, we are showing God that we love Him. That tells Him that we think His truth is important enough to investigate and find the firm footing that can only be found through Him. And because we are firm in our foundations, if others bring up new thoughts and ideas, we are willing to hold them against the standard of God’s word, accurately handling the word of truth.
God is to be the basis. The underlying thought constantly in the back of our mind. He guides our view on the world. He is the lens we use when living our everyday lives. God will guide us into all understanding.
Our mind is the warehouse that provides the building blocks and power to our actions.
It’s the storage center of the heart.
We love God with all of our mind by perceiving the true worth of God and the value of what He offers us.
We love God by discerning between what is pure and what has been tainted by sin. We should be able to see through to the effect certain actions, people, and environments will have on our soul. We have forward thinking, never forgetting the goal that lies ahead of us.
We exercise our mental faculties to keep them sharp to discern the fiery darts of the devil.
Satan doesn’t carry on open warfare.
The mind is always to be disposed to think like God. Our disposition and frame of mind is to always bring glory to God at all times.
Our intentions come from the heart, enter the mind, then come to fruition in our actions.
With our mind we determine what is good and evil. We use righteous judgment. Our minds are what we use to determine what will bring us closer to God. We can determine if we are loving God with all of our mind by what thoughts we allow to dominate our thinking moments.
Our thoughts become our actions. So will you join me in renewing my mind, through the grace of God and the help of the Holy Spirit, to give an excellent God excellent worship through our thoughts, disposition, and study?