Tuesday, November 03, 2015

The Importance of the Rational Mind

...[The devil] was a murderer from the beginning,
and abode not in the truth,
because there is no truth in him....

(John 8:44)

Many Christians are hearing that they must shut down their rational mind in order to be “more spiritual.” But, this isn’t what Scripture says. 

Scripture says that man’s sinful nature rules his carnal mind, nullifying any mental effort to obey God’s law or attain true spiritual knowledge of God. “So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:14-25). Also, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:6,7).

Further hindrances arise from Scripture’s statement that Satan uses the mind to keep men in their fallen condition: “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Cor. 4:4). So, not only has man a lack in himself to make his mind worthy of spiritual values, but man’s Adversary contributes to the problem, especially by using the unregenerate mind to confuse man’s understanding of spiritual things. 

By not honoring the true God in his spirit, man’s thinking becomes futile, leading him to worship the creature as God (the Lie of the Garden of Eden). Scripture says these men who do “not think it worthwhile to retain the true knowledge of God” are given over by God “to a rebrobate [depraved] mind” (read Rom. 1:18-32). Paul in 2 Thess. 2:9-12 also warns of a strong delusion, that they should believe a lie that will deceive with “all power and signs and lying wonders.” Paul said that this is accomplished with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.... That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 

This depravity often leads the spiritually oriented person to fellowship with spirits not of God, and then into a fountain of false teachings and spiritism. One who fellowships with “heavenly” beings other than the one true God has an unspiritual mind which puffs him up with idle and idolatrous notions. Col. 2:18 warns of this very thing: “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.” Phil. 3:18-19 reminds us that those who “mind earthly things” are “enemies of the cross of Christ.” And 1 Tim. 6:3-5 warns about teachers of false doctrine not in accord with “the sound doctrine of the Lord Jesus” and states that they know nothing.” 

How, then, can one’s mind be useful to man in spiritual matters? Only when one has been united with God by His Holy Spirit through belief in the finished work of Christ. I Corinthians 2 states that “no mind has conceived… the deep things of God” except they be “revealed… to us by His Spirit” (vv. 9-10). This is because “no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (v. 11). The Holy Spirit alone is the spiritual man’s teacher. 1 John 2:27 states: “But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him.” 

Man’s mind must be brought into subjection to the Holy Spirit so the two can work together. Man’s mind is then renewed by the Holy Spirit’s Scripture-based teaching, centered on the truth of the Gospel of Christ, resulting in man having the mind of Christ. Rom. 12:2 exhorts, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” In John 14:26 Jesus promised his disciples, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” And further, in John 16:13, Jesus instructed his disciples, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come.” 

Paul, in 1 Cor. 2:13-14, 16, described the truth-filled wisdom that comes from God: “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned…. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” 

The Christian can then test, judge, understand, and refute, based on spiritual truth as it pertains to God’s Gospel of Jesus Christ found in the Bible, the Word of God. One’s renewed mind now cooperates with God. Rom. 8:5: “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” 

Renewing the mind helps one to withstand the lies, deceits, and false doctrine of the enemy. We can quench the enemy’s fiery darts, Eph. 6:16: “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” The mind thus fortified with the Gospel can: “demolish strongholds… [and] arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God… and make every thought obedient to Christ.” 2 Cor. 10:4-5 inform us that “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 

When God speaks to a man in his spirit, he understands with the mind the will of God, and can thus perform it with the full use of his faculties and in full assurance that he is doing what God expects of him. 

The occultist or spiritist must bypass the mind by shutting down his thinking processes in order to reach a passive state, at which point contact with a spirit is made. One way of doing this is with a mantra; that is, repeating the same word, word segment, or phrase over and over again. There is no such practice found in Scripture. 

This post was authored by the late Ed Tarkowski, a pioneer in online discernment ministries. It was originally an e-mail devotional, later adapted and published in The Christian Conscience, January 1995, p. 29. Full Scripture citations have been added for blog publication. Ed's old archived articles can be found here: http://www.velocity.net/~edju70/