Read: Mark 12:30-31 NIV |
God blessed me with a son, Jordan. Jordan has a strong resemblance to me. In fact, if I shared our infant pictures taken from around the same age it would be hard to know which belongs to me versus him.
He is my son, our child. Even though he has his own identity, you can clearly tell to “whose” family he belongs.
Spiritually, the word “whose” indicates an ownership of the heart, mind, soul and strength. We are born belonging to the father of lies who is the prince of darkness. When we accept Christ, we belong to the Father of Truth and Light. As we grow from newly adopted believer to adolescent believer and on to adult believer, our heart, mind, soul and strength undergo a metamorphosis. We transform and more closely resemble our heavenly Father to whose family we belong.
In Mark 12, Jesus shared an answer to a test question concocted by a group of Pharisees in verse 30. They asked and He answered which is the greatest commandment. He gave two answers. We are to love God with our complete being. Specifically, He said to love with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength. Secondly, He said we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Why did Jesus specifically name heart, soul, mind and strength in connection with the greatest commandment? From a biblical basis, our heart is the stair step to our soul. The heart represents our mind – our thoughts. Our soul is our personal spirit and is the eternal part of our being. Our mind is our conscience. By spending time with God, we are able to discern the will of God and to keep our conscience renewed and purified. Our strength represents our resources, abilities, talents and time. Over the next few weeks, we will study heart, soul, mind and strength to understand how loving God with all of each one of these can help us show “Whose we are”.
Heart = Thinking
In our key scripture, Jesus’ reference to the heart is actually referring to the brain. The Greek term “kardia” used here means the affective center of our being, our mind, character and inner self. A clear example found in Matthew 15:19, indicates the heart is where our thoughts originate, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” (See also, Genesis 6:5, Jeremiah 4:14)
The heart is always listed first when the heart, soul, mind and strength appear together in the Bible. This makes sense when you consider that the heart – aka “the brain” – is the center for both physical and emotional-intellectual-moral activities. In other words, if our thinking is not aligned to God’s Word neither will we be. The moral condition of our thinking needs to be in line with God’s word and His will (Mark 7:21).
Renewing our “Thinking” (Heart)
As the eyes help us see and the ears to hear, the heart gives understanding, holds our memories and stimulates our dreams and hopes. Renew the heart with prayer, Quiet Time and Bible Study, to align it with God’s heart to whom we belong. This idea is expressed by the metaphor of writing on the tablet of the heart (Proverbs 3:3 ; Jeremiah 17:1 ). In short, the heart needs to be educated by filling it with God’s word ( Proverbs 22:17-18 ). In that way a person will grow in favor and good name and be safeguarded against sin (Psalm 119:11).
Our heart – our thinking – should resemble whose we are. If we desire, deliberate, decide upon what we face in alignment with God’s will, then we demonstrate whose we are. My desire is that a spiritual photograph of my heart – my thoughts– looks like “My Heavenly Father” to whose family I belong!
1. Discover – What would be the difference if we only gave all of heart or soul or mind or strength? In other words, if I gave part of myself to Christ, what is the problem if any?
2. Develop – Read: Psalm 119:11 – I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
A. What part does memorizing scripture play with our heart or thoughts?
B. How many scriptures have you memorized? (Please exclude John 3:16, “Jesus Wept” and the Lord’s Prayer)
C. Set a goal to memorize and internalize one per month to grow your thinking to be more like His.
3. Demonstrate – My heart is not like God’s heart in every way. Some parts are stony, sometimes it is not what it seems to be and other times it is transparent. How can I transform my heart – thoughts – to be more like His?