A Gospel Mind
In my last post I talked about the way my body is getting in my way and the work I am trying to do to redeem it. How it reminds me of the brokenness of sin and the futility of this world.
Today, I want to talk about my brain.
Most Christians will use language about their mind as though it were this separate thing from themselves. Quite a few, in fact, make an attempt to separate it from their spirit. IE, “My mind says X but my spirit says Y.” (Note: this is something I have heard, verbatim, several times.) I disagree with this concept, what theologians called dichotomous vs. trichotomous. Am I Body/Mind/Spirit or just Body/Mind(Spirit)?
I hold to being a dichotomy. I am two things. The way I teach my kids is this, “There is a material part of you and an immaterial part. When you die, you leave behind the material part.” I think this is important because when we think about it this way, it helps us understand eternity a little better. If my emotions, personality, and memories are all stored in a mind that is separate from my spirit, then what happens when I die? Do I become some weird blank object with no recollection or experiences? I don’t see the bible supporting that.
So why is this important? Well, when I begin understanding that my immaterial being is growing and changing to be more and more like Jesus, while my body is becoming less and less like Jesus (for now), then I can properly see the functions of maintenance and improvement. I don’t spend all day eating pie. Why don’t I? I love pie. Because my material vehicle will die faster and in more pain if all I give it is pie.
I don’t spend all my time reading/watching fiction. I don’t spend all my time distracting myself. I do spend a great deal of time in prayer and meditation. I do spend a good deal of time watching/reading fiction, but just not all.
I want my mind to be transformed. Literally, the Greek word metamorphoo, where we get the word metamorphosis. The bible never says, “Change your body to be more like Jesus.” It does, however, say that your mind can and should be.
So where am I in this? Real talk?
I’m not doing so well. My paragraph above, listing my discipline in this, is lacking the sin I am about to state: I tend to have very negative and fallen thoughts. I am guilty of worry, of doubt, of fear. I am guilty of trying to please people, of randomly impure thoughts.
But I see it. I recognize it. And only with God’s help. I realized even yesterday a funky little metaphor for my moments of worry. I was in the car and had a passing thought of, “What if God doesn’t provide for my needs?” And as soon as that rancid little drip of sin hit the surface of my brain, a completely opposite realization attacked it with gusto.
“Why would I think that about God? Would I think that way about my own wife? Would I say, ‘What if my wife stops loving me?'” And instantly it drove me to repent. This isn’t me bragging. If it was I would have left much of the story out. But it is how I’m fighting. I have to think thoughts in line with the gospel and put down every thought that raises itself above the truth.
I will never get this right. Not while I’m still drawing breath. But the beautiful thing about grace is that I don’t have to. I don’t have to literally be Jesus, in this life, I just have to pursue that aim. And what drives my pursuit of being like Him? Well, my love for Him. And what actually gives me the moments of power to change? The Holy Spirit. Like the turtles, it’s God all the way down.