of a New Mind in Christ
The Amazing Knowing that Can Come in the Mind of a Believer
OVER THIRTY-FIVE YEARS AGO, THE LORD SPOKE TO ME that I was to take up the study of psychology. When He spoke this, I supposed He meant I should return to school and began to consider what university I might approach to do some graduate work.No guidance came.
Then, after some time, I began to be impressed that I had in my hand the greatest Book on psychology there is: the Bible. In this respect, I believe, its depth had hardly been fathomed. This was where I was to take up my study. In fact, the word psychology comes right out of the Greek New Testament. It is composed of two frequently used words—psyche and logos. Psyche means the inner self of a person. It is “the principle of life” by which a person exists as an individual. Lgos means “an uttered word” as it gives an account of a matter. Both of these ordinary words became elevated in the New Testament. We learn it is our psyche—that is, our soul that the Lord will save. We learn that the Logos is the Word that came from God as the expression of His will for us. The Logos of God is eternal and reached so high as to lead John to consider that the Lord Jesus was Himself the Logos, that is, the Word, made flesh (Jn 1:14). He became the Logos in its highest form.
Soon I began seeing how much the Bible has to reveal about the Logos of God as it works with our psyche to bring about the new man in Christ. Could we not call this “Biblical Psychology”?
Although my study began primarily with the New Testament, I found the Old Testament rich with information also. One particular passage that struck me with great impact was a warning that came through the Prophet Daniel as he gave insight into the last-days activities of the anti-Christ. As a vile person, this one will move with strong determination to bring about apostasy among the followers of Christ. See this statement from Dan 11:30, . ..he shall even return (“turn around from his course”), and have intelligence with (“take psychic control of") them that forsake the Holy Covenant. The term have intelligence is a key for our understanding. It means he will reach for the minds of those who apostatize from their faith in Christ. Our souls will become his battlefield as he brings assault after assault—many of them very subtle—to bring down our commitment to and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is out of his last vain determination to win the Throne belonging to God’s beloved Covenant Son. His moves will be bold and erratic, keeping watchful eye for those who waver in their faith and commitment to Christ and whose understanding is weak.
In the New Testament Paul warns us of this satanic activity. Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from (“apostatize from”) the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines (“teachings”) of devils (“demons”) —I Tim 4:1). These demons are the emissaries of anti-Christ sent to seduce believers by bringing subtle and entangling instructions to draw them into his lair. The aim of their doctrines will be to discredit the Lord Jesus, with the promise of prosperity and well being apart from Him. Dan 8:25 clues us in that he by peace (“prosperity”) shall destroy (“corrupt”) many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes.
This will come as the culmination of all his activities shortly before he shall be broken without hand. .
WE HAVE COME TO CONSIDER THAT THE HUMAN SOUL has four natural functions, all with roots reaching into the human spirit from whose impulse direction comes for the outward man’s response. We can see these four functions of the soul as the intellect, the will, the emotions and the conscience.
Draw three concentric circles and you can see this. At the core is our spirit. Surrounding it, and drawing from its resource, is a ring divided into the four parts above named. We can call this our soul. I am inclined to place the intellect at the top, flanked on each side by the will and the emotions, and supported from beneath by the conscience. By conscience, we mean “the knowing of one’s self.” Our body is the outward ring and becomes the servant of our soul as it receives impulse from our spirit.
As I began making note through the New Testament, I discovered more than twenty distinct Greek words pertaining to the function of the intellect. I discovered nearly that many relating to the emotions. I discovered at least eight with respect to the will, and at least four describing works of the conscience. I think in each of these the list may yet grow as we grow in our understanding. There is more in the Old Testament, especially in the writings of David and Daniel. In fact, the Old Testament holds some powerful keys that will unlock our inner man for knowing Christ, especially in the time of trouble to which Jesus, Paul and the Prophets have pointed us.
I soon had no doubt that the Bible is, indeed, the greatest Book ever written on psychology. It is the Word for our souls. As we discover the passages making use of the above mentioned New Testament words, we find we can place them in three divisions.
First, we can find the possibilities for the new mind in Christ. Second, we can note the problems that may arise against the mind of a believer. Third, we discover the problems that hinder the mind of an unbeliever. Seeing all these we can know what is ours in Christ as we plow through the fields of difficulty set before us in the last perilous days.
FIRST, LET US TAKE A BRIEF LOOK at the New Testament Greek words speaking of the intellect. We will save for later the words relating to the other functions of the soul. These words are just as I have discovered them, with no certain order. The meanings placed with each one is simplistic and could certainly be more complex. (1) nous—the mind as it is employed in knowing, thinking and perceiving; (2) noema—the conception of the mind with its thoughts, purposes and feelings; (3) dianoia—the mind as it can have comprehension and think through a matter; (4) ennoia—a notion, thought or idea that might arise in the mind; (5) merimna— an anxious thought or worry; (6) mneia—a memory or recollection of the mind; (7) sophia—wisdom that will arise in the mind; (8) gnosis—knowledge that the mind may gain; (9) aisthesis—perception or understanding that may arise in the mind; (10) dokimos—the ability of the mind to put something to the test and draw a conclusion; (11) pistis—the conviction, or persuasion, the mind may form; that is, faith; (12) tapainophrosune—lowliness or humility of mind; (13) dialogismos—the dialogues or reasonings of the mind; (14) phronema—the framework of the mind, the way a person thinks; (15) noeo—to perceive, to observe, to give attention to; (16) aistherion—internal sense, the mind as an organ of perception; (17) aisthanomai—to perceive, to understand; (18) mnemoneuo—to recollect, to call to mind; (19) suniemi—to comprehend thoroughly, to put two and two together to form a conclusion; (20) gnome—the mind as it can work to know and judge in a matter; (21) eideo—the function of the mind as it gains insight to form a true conception of a matter; (22) epignosis—the acknowledgment of a matter as it pertains to what one already knows; (23) apokalupsis—a disclosure of truth, a revelation.
This list could grow. It will help guide us to the passages that call for our attention in this matter of our minds becoming new in Christ Jesus. We will not necessarily follow them in their order, but simply as the Holy Spirit directs us to them in the unfolding of the truth and light to which they point.
THERE IS AN AMAZING KNOWING COMING into the minds of believers for the last days. This unveiling of truth will be the result of one of the Holy Spirit’s last great movements in this age. Silently and without fanfare, He is working to restore our souls so we may move through the time of trouble as overcomers and function well in His Kingdom.
While a release of truth into our understanding is coming upon us, there is raging a fierce battle for our minds. Forces from Satan are out to bring confusion and despair. The Holy Spirit is countering this by bringing us into a new depth of spiritual warfare, along with prayer, supplication and intercession one for the other. Along with this is coming a new spiritual hunger and deeper search in the Scriptures.
Much of what we learn in Paul’s Prison Epistles about praying pertains to the renewing of our minds. One of the first words to take my attention was in the Greek text of Paul’s prayer in of Eph 1:18. It is dianoia. We can find it thirteen times in the New Testament, sometimes translated mind, sometimes understanding, and one time imagination (Mt 22:37; Mk 12:30; Lk 1:51; 10:27; Eph 1:18; 2:3; 4:18; Col 1:21; Heb 8:10; 10:16; I Pet 1:13; II Pet 3:1; I Jn 5:20) . The Lord Jesus used it one time when He said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind (“your dianoia)—Mt 22:37; Mk 12:30; Lk 10:27.
The dianoia describes the workings and operations of the mind as it draws conclusions about matters, and makes distinctions as to what is right and wrong. It is the mind as it is designed to have insight and comprehension. It can pierce through darkness and find light. From an enlightened dianoia a person can say, “Oh, now I understand! Now I see!”
This is amazing. The first mentioned function of the dianoia in us is that it is to hold a love for the Lord—totally. This calls for a commitment to Him that does not question or argue His rights with us. Before any comprehension of truth from Him may be rightly assimilated into our lives, it must be received on a platform of loving Him, and this, knowing that He loves us unconditionally. Thus, the knowledge that will grow within us will always rest on the platform of His love for us.
IN THE NATURAL MAN THE DIANOIA IS DARKENED hinders our grasping truth. Darkness in our understanding will distort our perception of life and its priorities. Because of the darkness, the awareness we could have of God’s Kingdom and its ways are remote and indistinguishable. There can also lurk in our dianoia an array of negative responses sending wild signals to our will and emotions, as well as to our mind. They make straight thinking difficult and are often the grounds on which seducing spirits work.
This is why the prayer Paul prayed in Eph 1:16-20 revolves around a work taking place in the dianoia. See this: Wherefore I...cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding (your dianoia) being enlightened; that ye may know WHAT is the hope of His calling, and WHAT the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and WHAT is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead...
We have looked at this passage and prayed its prayer for years, but let us see it again in this present light. From Paul we learn the intercession he was making for others in this matter was a persistent praying. He said, I cease not...making mention of you in my prayers. Then we note how he implored the Father to give unto those for whom he prayed the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. This would come in the knowledge of Him. We’ve drawn attention before to this word knowledge. It is from the Greek epignosis and carries the more precise meaning of “acknowledgment.” There is a difference in “knowledge” and “acknowledgment.” A person may have all kinds of knowledge about Christ, but never acknowledge Him. We acknowledge Him when we invite Him in out of the cold and let Him become the pivotal point around which our life revolves.
The way this passage is constructed in the Original could have a dual meaning. It could mean that the operation of the Spirit of wisdom and revelation will lead to the acknowledgment of Christ, or it could mean that the acknowledgment of Christ will lead to one's receiving the Spirit of wisdom and revelation.
Both are wonderful, and powerful and right. The dianoia of a person who acknowledges Christ perceives Him as being in all of life there is. As it carries the capability within us of understanding, our dianoia has eyes that are ever open for enlightenment, always seeing no matter how dark the day. Nothing may be more practical in life than the wisdom and revelation that comes with the continuing acknowledgment of Christ. This is for the living of life to its fullest even in dreadful times.
THE DIANOIA OF EVERY PERSON IS DIFFERENT. Each one sees and understands life from a different perspective. Just as the finger print of every person is distinct, so the way each one thinks and understands is distinct. There are two ways, however, in which the dianoia of every person is the same. · Everyone was designed by God to have an understanding of Him. · The ability to understand Him has been darkened in everyone. It is apparent this came because of the fall of our Parents in Eden. But in His mercy, God is bringing us out of this darkness for the last days.
Let us consider here a little more about what Daniel saw relative to this matter. He made use of a word similar in meaning to the Greek dianoia. It is the Hebrew beenah, meaning the kind of understanding that opens in a person when enlightenment comes—especially the light of the Holy Spirit. It is this part the Angel Gabriel touched when he said to Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding (Dan 9:22). That Archangel had access to the inner part of Daniel’s psyche to place there an understanding about God and His Kingdom.
The alarming thing is that the anti-Christ will reach for this same part of us in the last days. See again Dan 11:30. The vile person will compete for the innermost part of our mind, the subconscious part of us, to bring us under his psychic control.
Who are these with whom he will succeed and have intelligence? Those who have been in covenant relation with God, but have defected. The most subtle satanic strategy of the closing days will be this clandestine maneuver of his to gain the minds of believers. He actually expects us to defect from our faith. His seducing spirits will reach for any darkness left in our dianoia and use it to confuse us. His aim will be to draw us into his camp.
We are learning now the counter-strategy that will enable us to withstand in the evil day. We can come through every fight triumphant and stand in the final day in the camp of the Lord. This is the wonderful scheme laid out in Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians as it leads us to this statement: Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand—Eph 6:13.
NOW, LET US SEE THIS: THE DIANOIA is the starting point for God’s Kingdom in us. While it is the part that has been darkened, it is also the part that can receive first light. We are learning this from Paul. He expected three things to come as the result of light entering the dianoia.
Look back at Eph 1:16-20. Some of us have absorbed this into our discipline of praying for several years. We have drawn attention time and again to the three times Paul used the word WHAT. They point to what we can know when our dianoia is enlightened. And, I must say again: the knowing is the deep, instinctive type of knowledge that finds release from within, placed in us by the Holy Spirit. It is an enlightenment that comes from an absolute source. No darkness has the power to overcome it. When this light is in us, we need have no fear of the darkness around us. Nor can Satan blow it out. It is this light that will guide us as triumphant overcomers through every fight, no matter what dark and threatening shadow may seek to envelop us.
See this—oh, see this!—again. Paul teaches us to pray that the eyes of your understanding will be enlightened; that ye may know WHAT is the hope of his calling, and WHAT the riches of the gloiy of his inheritance in the saints, and WHAT is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power...
The WHAT’S of this passage point to the laying of the foundation necessary for the building up of God’s Kingdom in us. They bring the Kingdom into substance and make overcoming possible in the face of any tribulation. Clearing the dianoia of darkness enables us to know: One, WHAT is the hope of God’s calling upon our lives. This enables us to be certain in our movements because we know what God wants. Two, WHAT is the value He places upon us as His inheritance. We are His prize in the Redemption. Oh, what a boon this is to faith! When we know how He values us, we know He will not forsake us. Three, WHAT is the greatness of the power available to us. This equips us for any conflict because it is the power released unto us through Christ’s Resurrection.
When these three points of knowing are made firm in us, the strongholds and trouble with which we have struggled become our points of overcoming.
Make solid the three foundations of Eph 1:18,19 and our triumph will be as certain as Christ’s Resurrection. When this is settled, we will know the righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost that belong to the Kingdom of God (Rom 14:7). Hope will remain alive in us—even in the evil day.
Ephesians Truth—as well as Romans Truth—is working in us for this day.
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