Soulbook: The Soul and the Whole Person – Mind
The intellect of the Christian, unfortunately, is often overlooked in favor of a concentration on the service and emotional aspect of the person. However, Scripture overflows with the encouragement to use your mind for God’s service and to His glory. It was through the intellect of approximately forty inspired writers that God conveyed His written message. He used the minds of people to interpret this message into other languages. Today, He still sees the intellect or mind of people as a tool through which His Word is understood and spread. The mind is not simply your brain or the way you think, it is the center of your reason and understanding. It connects your heart, soul, and strength to that of God through the implantation of His message within you. Without the mind, the other parts could not be nourished by that Word to eternal life.
The mind and the heart are often viewed as being at odds with each other. After all, the intellect is usually viewed as being the cold, rational part of a person while the heart is seen as the warm, gooey center of emotions. How can these two parts of a person be compatible? The early Christians seemed to know exactly how these apparently disparate parts should operate together. Acts 4:32: “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.” No one commanded these people to share everything, it just made sense to them. They understood that if Jesus could give everything for them, they could easily share what they had with each other. When Christians have their hearts and minds pointing the same direction, selfishness disappears.
The mind and soul are two parts we don’t necessarily relate very well, either. While the mind seems to us to be a mechanical entity that is for thinking, the soul might appear to be a concept more than an existent thing. But, in Scripture, the mind and the soul are often used interchangeably. As the heart and soul are used to mean the same thing in some contexts, the mind and soul have a oneness about them that God uses to depict our whole person. Paul sees this very clearly and explains the concept well to the church in Philippi. Philippians 1:27 says, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the Gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.” Christians who are united in Soul and mind are working together for the spreading of the Gospel. They have one mind and soul of faith that motivates them to do God’s work and to have the necessary focus to get the job done. The mind and soul are powerful components of the Christian that allow the message of Jesus to be preached and carried to the world.
The mind also lends itself to the perpetuation of strength in the work of God. Through the mind, strength can be gained in a way that only intellect can deliver. For example, there are instances where someone might have an ailment and only intellect can find the cure for this problem. In this particular circumstance, the mind is absolutely necessary. “What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also,” (I Corinthians 14:15). Our strength/fortitude is conjoined with our minds in every aspect of our lives. The thoughts of our minds inform our actions and lend self-control and purpose. Through the mind, purpose and strength within the person are amplified and enhanced, allowing greater and more service to be rendered.
The mind of a person allows the whole person to be raised to a different level of understanding if that individual’s mind is set in the right direction. Through the purpose and direction of the mind, the soul can grow and be prepared for life on Earth and most importantly, life in Heaven. In I Corinthians 4:18-20, Paul tells the church at Corinth, “I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all; however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue. Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature.” Maturity in the mind leads to maturity in the Spirit. With that maturity, people can make good decisions, mentor others, and have the clarity of thinking and purpose that God desires for His work.