The Importance of the Mind

Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.

–Proverbs 4:23

What keeps a Christian from falling away from the faith? In Colossians 2:2, Paul said the cure for defection is “that [your] hearts may be encouraged.” That sounds like a nice spiritual saying, but what does it mean?

In our culture, we talk about the heart as the seat of our emotions. We say, “I love you with all my heart,” and, “I felt that in my heart.” But in the Hebrew culture, the heart was the center of thought. So when Paul prayed that the Colossians’ hearts would be encouraged, he was talking about their minds.

The mind is important because our thoughts control our actions, and our actions control our destiny. That’s why the Bible puts a premium on the center of thought. For example, Proverbs 4:23 says, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” I’ve often heard people misapply this verse. They might say to teenagers, “Guard your heart. Don’t give your affections away too freely.” That’s not what this verse is about. Solomon was saying, “Guard your mind because it’s the center of everything that happens in your life.”

We can see the importance of the mind in nature. The brain is command central for the rest of the body—it controls our heart rate, our immune system, and our hormones. Consider the story of Norman Cousins, an award-winning New York journalist. In 1964, Cousins was diagnosed with a connective tissue disease. He had trouble moving his limbs, and at one point, his jaws became almost locked. A specialist said his chances of recovery were one in five hundred.

But Cousins refused to give up. He had read that negative emotions can have a negative impact on the body. So he thought, Could a positive outlook have a positive effect? Cousins worked with his doctor on a plan to pursue positive emotions that would have positive physiological effects. For example, he started watching Marx Brothers comedies and reruns of Candid Camera. In his book Anatomy of an Illness, Cousins wrote, “I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter . . . would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep.” In time, Cousins recovered, and he wrote multiple books about the influence of the brain on the rest of the body.

Proverbs 23:7 says, “As he thinks within himself, so he is.” That’s the importance of the mind.

***

Today’s devotion is adapted from “The Heart of the Matter” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.

Norman Cousins, Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient (New York: W. W. Norton, 2005), 43.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

 

Share This:

Overflowing with Gratitude

This week, we’re going to discover five principles that Abraham’s servant Eliezer exercised in finding the right mate for Abraham’s son Isaac. These principles can help you, your children, and your grandchildren not only to find a mate but also to know God’s will for any area of life.

The Key to Growing in Christ

This week, we’re going to discover five principles that Abraham’s servant Eliezer exercised in finding the right mate for Abraham’s son Isaac. These principles can help you, your children, and your grandchildren not only to find a mate but also to know God’s will for any area of life.
Search

Pathway To Victory
Po Box 223609
Dallas, TX 75222-3609