Consider: we are in a constant battle between spirit and flesh; faith and reason. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.” Proverbs 23:7. There is our mind; and there is our heart. It might be enlightening to look up the verses that speak of things ‘in the heart;’ as we mortals tend to confuse the two. We have to learn how to discern what is from where. God is interested in our heart condition. It is given that to be made into a ‘new creature in Christ,’ requires the complete‘renewing of our minds.’ Isn’t it interesting that it is written that ‘as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.’
1) the heart 1a) that organ in the animal body which is the centre of the circulation of the blood, and hence was regarded as the seat of physical life 1b) denotes the centre of all physical and spiritual life 2a) the vigour and sense of physical life 2b) the centre and seat of spiritual life 2b1) the soul or mind, as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavours 2b2) of the understanding, the faculty and seat of the intelligence 2b3) of the will and character 2b4) of the soul so far as it is affected and stirred in a bad way or good, or of the soul as the seat of the sensibilities, affections, emotions, desires, appetites, passions 1c) of the middle or central or inmost part of anything, even though inanimate
KJV – think 1; 1
1) to split open, reason out, calculate, reckon, estimate 1a) (Qal) to calculate
There is an inner struggle in the heart of the believer, because the new life in Christ in our hearts; is battling for its right to rule our natural, carnal mind. And all of our efforts to subject our own thoughts are futile. We cannot clean up our own act. We cannot change our nature and character of ourselves. God purposes to perform a miracle, in each and every one of us; that only He can do; if... we will let Him. “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” Jeremiah 10:23.
We can become ‘O, so religious.’ We can clean up the ‘outside of the cup.’ But in our inner man we can still harbor malice, resentments, jealousies, ill-will, criticisms and all manner of bad feelings and attitudes. In short, try as we might, our will is incapable of making us pure, or holy, or righteous. All of mankind have partaken of the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; and we live thereby. Looking at this chart, we can readily identify with how it works: (click on picture to enlarge)
We can spend our lifetime running around and around this tree, from branch to branch, judging ourselves and others, and never achieve our goal. Our flesh is all about me, me, me. While our reborn spirit, is all about God. Only one can reign within. We can only cry with the Psalmist, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalms 51:10. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” Philippians 1:6.
We must acknowledge….“And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.” 1 Corinthians 8:2. We only see and know ‘in part,’ and must not ‘lean to our own understanding.’ We must learn how to…“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”Psalms 46:10.
We must be willing that HE be exalted in ‘our earth.’ Only then will be set free from the vicious treadmill of our own thoughts (the Clamoring Voices in our heads), and our own will. Instead, seeking to please HIM in all things, rejoicing in that…“Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:” Ephesians 1:9. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13.
We are saved, by faith. But all of our teaching, our doctrines, our beliefs, are contingent upon our personal relationship with HIM Who Is the Word, the Truth, and the Life… Jesus Christ. He came that we might have life… abundant life! That we might be partakers of His very nature and character. No amount of study and good intent can ever make us partakers of the nature of Christ. This is not achieved from the mind to the heart; but from the heart to the mind. Our minds are renewed as we are still before Him, no longer tossed to and fro by every wind. “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18.
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1. Our burdens are heavy. Trying to be spiritual while we are yet carnally minded is a great weight. We are continually thwarted in our efforts to ‘do right,’ because of the conflict that rages within our thoughts, comparing the do’s and the don’ts, this interpretation and that teaching, should I – shouldn’t I. Jesus never told us to try to imagine what he would do. He never told us to shut ourselves away from the world, lest we be contaminated by it, to only associate with people who are like-minded. That is what we do when we are trying to be ‘spiritual’ while still operating from the wrong tree.
He said, “Go ye into all the world!” “I will be with you!” “Both I and my Father will come to you and make our abode in you!” “Love others as I have loved you!” “Do good to those that persecute you!” “Forgive, and you shall be forgiven!” “I will be with you!” “I will never leave you or forsake you!” What more do we think we need?
Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”Philippians 4:13.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”Ephesians 6:10.
Makes us take a good, long look at our thought life, doesn’t it, and what tree we are feeding from?