“Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness”
Over the last couple of months we have been exploring the importance of “renewing our minds” (Romans 12:1-2).
In last month’s Personal UPDATE we probed into what exactly our minds are (we can’t “renew” them if we don’t understand what they are).
Our minds are not just our conscious thoughts, our intellect or our reason, but a whole conceptual process that begins with the spirit that resides at the core of our being and ends with the life that is produced in our souls.
The Old Testament gives us the best definition of our minds, by correlating them to either reins, kidneys or spirit. We covered these in detail in our last article. (part 1)
In doing more research for my new book, Be Ye Transformed, I came across two other words that might help us gain a better understanding of what our minds truly are.
Eye and fountain are both used in Scripture to denote our minds.
The Hebrew word for “eye” is ayin and the Greek word is opthalmos. Listen to a provocative Scripture about our “eyes”:
The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. (Luke 11:34-35)
Eye stands for “mental vision” or “sight.” Two things are required for vision or sight: the light that actually lets us “see” and the physical eye itself. This, to me, describes exactly what our minds are. Our minds are not the Light itself (God is), but they are the instrument through which (or by which) that Light comes. In other words, we see, but only by the Light that beams through our eyes (or our minds).
Another wonderful word used in Scripture to help explain what our minds are, is the word “fountain.” Again, the Hebrew word is ayin (the same word for “eye”) and the Greek word is pege. Ayin and pege denote a “fount,” a “well” or a “supply of water,” but not necessarily the original source of water. This again helps us to understand a little more precisely what our minds are. The “Source” of the water is the Spirit that resides at the core of our being; our minds are simply the well or the fountain through which that water flows. (Note: If that well is not kept clean, the water can become dirty and polluted, and eventually blocked up. Read James 3:11-12.)
Thus, as we have said, our minds are not just our brain, our conscious thoughts, our intellect or our reason, but a whole conceptual process that not only includes the conception (or the creation) of an idea in our hearts, but also its fulfillment in action in our lives.
In the New Testament, the proper Greek word for this total conceptual “process of thinking” is nous. From now on, whenever I speak of “mind” (either a renewed mind or the Mind of Christ), I will always mean the Greek word nous – our total conceptual process, from spirit inception to spirit execution.
There are seven different stages or functions that form this conceptual process called “mind.” Each function (each stage) depends upon the next and each one builds from the last. Over the next several months, I hope to explore each of the seven different functions of our minds.
But first, let’s get an “overall” picture of how our mind works (see Chart 1):
Our conceptual process of thinking (our mind) begins with the spirit that resides at the core of our being, which creates the thoughts of our hearts. These thoughts are then produced as life actions in our souls. (To simplify: the spirit creates the thoughts which produce the actions. This whole process is called “mind.”)
Three Types of Minds
There are three types of minds (see Chart 2):
Mind in the natural man (i.e., an unbeliever, with no influence from God) is going to be a natural, self-centered conceptual process. It begins with the human spirit that resides at the core of his being, which then creates self-centered thoughts in his heart, which eventually produces self-centered actions in his life. Now, for this person there is no other choice, because there is no other power source (no other energy source) within him to produce something different than what his human thoughts are telling him to do.
As 1 Corinthians 2:14 tells us, the “natural” man “…cannot understand [or know] the things of God….” Therefore, he really cannot know true love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, or any of the fruit of the Spirit, because he does not have the Spirit of God within him to produce these things through him.
(See Chart 3): Mind in a believer (someone who has asked Jesus into his heart) should be a God-centered conceptual process, because it’s now God’s Spirit that dwells at the core of this person’s being (i.e., a new supernatural power source). God’s Spirit creates God-centered thoughts in this person’s heart, which “should” then produce God-centered life actions in his soul.
If this is the case, this would be called single-mindedness or “one souled,” because there is only one life being lived here. God’s thoughts from this person’s heart are freely coming forth and producing godly life actions. This is God’s ideal. This is what it means to “live the truth,” where our words and deeds match. This is a person being conformed into Jesus’ Image, walking in His Love and Truth.
An Example: Joseph
A Scriptural example of “single-mindedness” would be Joseph in Genesis 39. As we mentioned in a previous article, Joseph was assigned to work in the household of Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard. Potiphar chose Joseph to be an overseer of his house because he trusted him. Potiphar committed everything into Joseph’s hands and God blessed Potiphar because of this.
However, Potiphar’s wife was not as trustworthy. When Potiphar was gone, she enticed Joseph to “lay with her.” Refusing her offer, Joseph responded, “How could I do that to Potiphar, when he has entrusted everything to me? And besides, how could I sin against God?” Potiphar’s wife, however, kept persisting and day after day approached Joseph.
One day, as Joseph went into the house to do his chores, she physically caught hold of him. As he tried to flee, she ripped off his garment and then kept it as evidence against him. She lied to her servants and to her husband by saying that Joseph had attacked her. Potiphar was grieved, but he had to put Joseph in prison.
The Lord adds a footnote to this story in Genesis 39:21. He says, “But the Lord was with Joseph, and showed him mercy and gave him favor….” It also goes on to say that all who saw Joseph “knew God was with him.”
Joseph, to me, is a perfect example of single-mindedness, because even though he was repeatedly tempted, he kept on choosing to give God his negative thoughts so that God’s Life could still freely come forth. Joseph truly “lived the truth” and everyone saw God in him because of it.
(See Chart 4): Unfortunately, there is a second type of mind in a believer and this is where many of us live. This is called double-mindedness or “twice souled,” because two lives are being lived.
This is a believer who has God’s Love, His Thoughts and His Power in his heart (one Life), but because he has chosen to follow his own lusts, hurts, frustration, anger, guilt, etc., God’s thoughts are blocked from coming forth, and thus self-centered life actions (another life) are produced.
We can be a Christian, therefore, all of our lives (with God’s Life in our hearts), and yet because we continue to make choices to follow what we think, feel and desire over what God is prompting us to do, God’s Life in us will be quenched. Thus, no one will ever see the difference between our life and that of our neighbors who don’t even know God.
This is exactly what a hypocrite is: a person whose “words” don’t match his “actions.” “They profess that they know God (intimately), but in works (actions) they deny Him….” (Titus 1:16) This is a person who is being conformed to the world and not “transformed” out of it.
Double-mindedness, therefore, is Satan’s “game plan.” He wants us to trust in and act upon what we are feeling, what we are thinking, and what others are telling us, rather than have faith in God and what He has promised to do in His Word. Satan wants us bound to him by our hurts, wounds and any other “chains of sin” that he can find, because he knows it will immediately quench God’s Life in us.
This is exactly what he is after because it then causes us to “live a lie” (our words and our deeds don’t match) and the Gospel will not be passed on.
..a house divided against [itself] will fall. Luke 11:17