This week I am focusing on our minds before we became followers of Christ. I am referring to it as the Pre-Christian mind. When we talk about loving God with our mind, we have to talk about where we have been to give a foundation on where we want to go. The Pre-Christian mind, which is the state of our mind before Christ saved us, is at war with God.”And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds” (Col.1:21). We also read in James “Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (Jas 4:4) The Bible is clear that our Pre-Christian mind is at war with God, it is an enemy of God. Why?
The connection man had with God in the Garden of Eden was destroyed by disobedience to God’s rule. That sinful act of rebellion brought spiritual death to all mankind. David tells us in the Psalms “I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psa. 51:5). We are born into sin and incapable of knowing God. Jeremiah tells us “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9) We also read in Genesis “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. 6:5) From birth our minds and hearts, which is an aspect of the mind, is desperately sick and every intention is evil. EVERY INTENTION.
The Pre-Christian mind can reason and understand many things. What the fallen mind cannot do is understand and come to saving knowledge of Christ unless God first awakens the mind. In Ephesians 2, Paul tells us that in our Pre-Christian state we were dead in our sins and we displayed that deadness by living out the sinful desires of our mind and sin nature, which the Bible calls the flesh.
When a person experiences physical death, he is lifeless. The body is just a shell of what the person once was. Humanity is born into spiritual death, though we live in this world, our minds our lifeless when it comes to relating to and intimately knowing God, the Pre-Christian mind cannot know or experience God in this way. The fact that we have so many false ideas of God should be proof alone of this fact.
God did not leave us to wallow in our death. Paul goes on to tell us “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved-” (Eph. 2:4-5). When we are dead, God awakens the mind to receive and understand His revealed truth from the Scriptures. At that moment we understand and acknowledge our sinfulness and turn to God we are made alive to God by His grace. Made alive to love God with all we are including our minds.
Think about when you became a follower of Christ. How did it happen? Many heard or read the gospel and they understood it. Listen to the language we use to talk about our conversion experience listened, heard, understood, received, believed, those are the faculties of the mind. Just like we receive Christ, God expects us to use our reasoning abilities to learn how to live the Christian life. Listen to Paul’s words to the Ephesians “But that is not the way you learned Christ!- assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:20-24)
Even though we are dead to sin, by the grace of God, and alive to Christ, we still struggle with our sinful nature. I became a Christian at age 14 and for 14 years I lived a life fulfilling my sinful desires and building up patterns of thought in my mind that were hostile towards God. Even in our lives now as Christians we battle with our sinful nature, the difference now is we don’t have to be ruled by that nature. As Christians we need to tear down those strongholds in our mind and subject them to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10: 5-6). In future blogs we will be going into further detail on how we love God with all our mind and renewing the mind like Paul commands in Romans 12.