Sunday, February 15, 2009

Connections

I just finished reading an excerpt from Life on Purpose for Women, a devotional by JM Farro. Today's lesson was called "Praying God's Will"; I had a 'hmmm?' moment shortly after reading this:

It is in knowing and believing God's Word that our hearts and minds are transformed, and our wills become aligned with God's.

It's not all that surprising of a statement, but what caught my attention was minds, especially when she inserts the following verse a few sentences later: "Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think" (Romans 12:2). So, basically, if our thoughts (minds) aren't focused on God, and all that he represents (love), we'll not only be unhappy, but we're probably not going to hear our prayers get answered (we'll miss it)--that's what she says in the book. But it's not just about our hearts, it's also about our minds. That's where it gets a little confusing.

So then I start thinking that minds=soul=spirit? Nope. The state of the heart affects the mind (brain?) which then influences the soul (or spirit's?) condition, right?

In college I took a class called "The Philosophy of the Mind", which was not as fun as I'd hoped it'd be. The only interesting thing we discussed was the difference between the mind and the soul, whether there was a distinction, or whether people just use the term 'soul' as a stand-in for mind (the first not really existing, was one argument). Of course, it was just one circular claim after another; questions leading to more questions. I was certain we had a soul, but I assumed that the words mind and soul (and even spirit) could be used interchangeably...

There's a verse that mentions the mind being a separate entity from the spirit and, of course, the heart. They have a unique direct relationship but exist apart from each other. Here are a few verses:

1 Corinthians 14:15
So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind.

Matthew 22:37
Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Jeremiah 17:10
"I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve."

John 3:6
Flesh gives birth to flesh but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

God's Spirit gives birth to our spirit so that our minds can be renewed. The condition of our spirit will reflect and be influenced by what occurs in our mind (our thoughts). Our spirit is the vehicle God uses to communicates with our mind, which then affects everything else.

Ephesians 4: 22-24
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

It took awhile, but I see the distinctions now. It's the Holy Spirit that convicts our spirit, which then directs our mind's thoughts. If we listen to the convictions, our mind will be at peace and it follows that our heart will be as well...and isn't that what it means to be truly happy?

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

Phillipians 4: 7-8
...the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

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