This one is a little deeper. Please take the time to follow carefully what I am presenting.
Pay close attention whenever a New Testament author repeatedly uses the same word to address the same subject in the same book. The pattern is significant!
This is exactly what we find from the Apostle Paul when he connects the mind (νοηματα) and spiritual conflict. Your mind is a battleground!
II Corinthians 10:4-5
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought (νοημα) to make it obedient to Christ.”
Three other appearances of the word for mind in II Corinthians specifically associate it with the activity of Satan.
- II Corinthians 2:11 – “In order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes (νοηματα) (thinking).”
- II Corinthians 4:3-4 – “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds (νοηματα) of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel…” (w/ II Corinthians 3:14-16)
- II Corinthians 11:3 – “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds (νοηματα) may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”
Transformation of the mind
The battle in life is for the mind – for our way of thinking or perspective. Satan targets the mind, but God (by His Spirit) offers to renew the mind to restore us to His image.
Emphasis on transformation through a renewed mind.
- Romans 12:2 – “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (νοος).”
- Ephesians 2:23 – “You were taught, …..to be made new in the attitude of your minds (νοος).”
- Romans 13:14 –“Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about (pronoun) how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” Pronoian (Πρόνοιαν) – a pre-visionary or pro-visonary way of thinking. – “don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires” (NLT)
Too often we apply these verses narrowly to sexual temptation. But the works of the flesh include many other more pervasive evils.
Galatians 5:19-21– “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.”
8 of the acts of the sinful nature (flesh) on this list are relationship sins!
How does one make pro-visionary thinking for hatred or jealousy or envy? What mind-set or perspective allows for these sins?
To overcome sinful attitudes, actions and emotions, one must see things differently. One must “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” How does an appropriation of Christ to one’s life offer a different way of thinking? How does it provide a gospel-based construal that counter veils the wrong way of thinking? All of this relates to both the assault against the mind by Satan and the renewal of the mind by God.
Connecting heart and mind
“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45, NIV).
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (Proverbs 4:23, NLT). The mind (or ways of thinking, or perspectives) either reinforces or challenges the things stored in our hearts. To change behaviors, attitudes, and emotions, we must change ways of thinking—perspectives. Allow God to transform you by changing the way you think. This will help you win the battle with wrong feelings and actions. Think differently – with the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:3-5).
“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires” (Hebrews 4:12).
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work” (II Timothy 3:16-17, NLT).