By Don Givens
What is the first commandment? “The Lord our God is one Lord; and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment” (Mk. 12:29, 30). Can anything take priority over this? What comes before first?
The word “mind” in this passage is from the Greek dianoias which means, according to Thayer: “the mind as the faculty of understanding, feeling, desiring.” Harper’s Analytical Greek Lexicon says dianoids means: “thought, intention; the mind, intellect, understanding; insight, comprehension.”
We must love and serve God with full understanding. Our minds must be devoted to His service, and be pure minds anxious to learn His will and perform it. Be honest with yourself: how much of your mind is given to thoughts which pollute, degrade, and corrupt?
The mind of the Gentiles was corrupted because they did not devote themselves to God. “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them up to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting” (Rom. 1:28). A “reprobate mind” does those things that are entirely unfit and degrading in the sight of the Lord, even though it may be things that the world applauds and pursues. While guided by such a corrupt mind, it is impossible to please the Lord.
As one observes society in the eighties, seen on every hand are people with degraded, immoral, ungodly minds. One does not have to watch television, for example, very long before he will see much evidence of degraded minds and reprobate lives. The usual conversation of the worldly individual is filled with ungodly, immoral thoughts and speech. The filthy themes of a high percentage of modern rock, pop, and country and western songs are “adultery, whore-mongering, and drunkenness” (dressed up in more sophisticated speech, of course).
“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. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Rom. 8:5,6). The one leads to death! The other to life and peace! What a contrast. How tragic it is that some who claim to be church members actually have carnal minds and are sadly lacking in real spirituality.
We can purify our minds by receiving and retaining the life-giving Word of God (Acts 17:11). This spiritual growth is demanded of every saint: “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” (Rom. 12:2). Our minds must be transformed; that is, changed. We disciples of Jesus are not to be squeezed into the mold of this carnal world. “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind” (Eph. 4:23).
As Jane McWhorter phrases it in her book Caterpillars or Butterflies, “The health department is not alone in inoculating people. It seems that sometimes the devil uses this same method. A small amount of injected smallpox germs will produce a light case of the dreaded disease and allow our bodies to develop a defense against a real attack. In the same way, new converts sometimes receive only a smattering of Christianity and somehow manage to build up a tremendous resistance to the real thing. Christ means nothing in our lives until He is everything…. Our trouble is this: we plant turnip seeds in our minds, allow dandelions to blow in and then wonder why we don’t have a rose garden. When we plant and cultivate the right seed, the right fruit will be produced. This is God’s answer to the transformation of a Christian’s mind.”
Our minds are truly the soil in which the seeds of our thoughts grow. About what are we thinking, and on what are we feeding?
Too many brethren take the Word of God just as they do bad-tasting medicine. They tolerate it when they have to do so just to get it over with and out of the way. Sadly, they have never known the delight that the psalmist experienced as he meditated on the law of God day and night (Psa. 1:2).
Are we taking delight in feeding our minds on the life-giving Words of God? Remember, eternity is getting closer with every breath you take.
Guardian of Truth XXIX: 21, p. 655
November 7, 1985