The Brain vs. The Mind
There is frequently confusion between the differences of the brain and the mind. Oftentimes, people use the words brain and mind synonymously. The brain is the physical structure which houses the mind and gives it physical manifestation in the natural world. The brain and eyes together form the Central Nervous System. The brain is the physical component and the mind is the spiritual component. Just as your spirit has a body to house it, your mind also has a place to live. The components of your brain allow you to express your mind and thoughts in various ways and help give them form and shape, but the thought process itself is a spiritual one.
How do we know that the mind and thought process itself is spiritual in nature?
“while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18.
Scripture tells us that which is unseen is spiritual and the things which are seen are natural or physical and will pass away. Thoughts themselves are unseen. With advancements in science today we can view activity in different areas of the brain during particular activities or when certain emotions are being felt; we cannot, however, see thoughts themselves. Science is not even entirely sure how thoughts form. We can only see the physical parts of the brain that are in use. We cannot see the generation of thought itself or the decisions to think a certain way because they are spiritual in nature. In the same way that we cannot see motive (spiritual) behind why someone commits a particular action (physical), we can only see the physical compartments of the brain that are being initiated by the thought process.
Christ Himself illustrated the importance of the mind:
Matthew 6:22: “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.
Sometimes Christians are not sure exactly how to interpret this verse. This Scripture is actually talking about the mind. Recall that the Central Nervous System is composed of both the brain and the eyes. During development in the womb, your eyes first began as a part of your brain. Later your eyeballs move into your eye sockets so you can see. This is why science considers your eyes to be a part of the same system as your brain because at one time during your development they were. This describes it better:
The eye begins to develop as a pair of optic vesicles on each side of the forebrain at the end of the 4th week of pregnancy. Optic vesicles are outgrowings of the brain which make contact with the surface ectoderm and this contact induces changes necessary for further development of the eye. Through a groove at the bottom of the optic vesicle known as choroid fissure the blood vessels enter the eye. Source
Matthew 6:22 is saying that if your mind is clear the whole rest of your body will be also.
I want to clarify something here. Focusing on what we want is not New Age; it is a spiritual Christian practice. I am by no means suggesting New Age thinking or the power of “positive” thinking. Thinking outside of Christ doesn’t work. Christ is the One who has given us the power to think so outside of Him we cannot truly think. Thought is a God process – not a human invention. It is God who has given the power of thought and who has given intelligence . It is a gift – not a vehicle by which to explain away the presence of a Creator. It is God who has endowed us with the ability to analyze, inspect, and decide – not a self-emerging trait that we humans have accumulated due to our own evolvement.
This is why the enemy attacks the mind so severely. He knows that it is a part of us that gives us the ability to commune with God on an intellectual level. He knows that the mind is also a part of us that makes us not only human but also a spiritual being. We can bring forth ideas and make them manifest; we can bring forth thoughts and make them words – whether for good or for evil. The mind is also the creative aspect of man. No other part of man is more creative and more artistic than the mind. It is the part of us from which we create beauty and develop the world around us. With our minds we can envision our inner world and translate it to the physical world as a reality.
This is why the enemy attacks the mind so severely – because what we form on the inside creates the reality that we see around us. Everything you see around you was once an idea on the inside of man. The enemy knows how powerful this is. He also knows that we are the only beings that possess both a physical and spiritual form. No other creation possess both realms. We are unlike any other creature in that we can touch both the spiritual and natural world simultaneously. No demon or animal can do this. This is why the enemy attacks us so vehemently. If he wants something to manifest in the natural he cannot do it himself. He must get someone else to do his work for him.
The Mind is a Spiritual Weapon
The mind is often overlooked in the Church and in teachings today. As a part of religious teaching, the mind is most often looked at as an enemy against God and against the ways of God. Let’s examine this more closely:
Romans 8:5-8: “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Usually the teaching stops there and the next verse is forgotten…
Romans 8:9: “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”
This verse is telling us that Christians – those who have received the Spirit of God – are not in the flesh. What does this mean? This means that those who have come to Christ are no longer operating in the things of the flesh but in the things of the Spirit. Does this mean we are perfect? No. Does this mean that we don’t make mistakes? Of course not. Does this mean we don’t have ideas and wrong beliefs that are not of God and must be corrected? Absolutely not!
What it means is that we now have the ability to shape our world through the power of thought. The mind is the spiritual creative element that has now been revived by Christ and can be used to activate and advance His kingdom. We often here the following passage of Scripture…
Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. […]”
The word used in this verse for heart is bə·nap̄·šōw. It is taken from the root word nephesh meaning a soul, living being, life, self, person, desire, passion, appetite, or emotion.
The NASB version translates this passage more accurately:
“For as he thinks within himself, so he is. […]”
The used in this verse for this is šā·‘ar. It means to split open, reason out, calculate, reckon and estimate.
Proverbs 23:7 is telling us that with our inner most being – with our life force – we think. It is telling us where our thoughts stem from – where they originate – their origins. As a believer, our inner most man has been made new.
The passages of Scripture I have mentioned are usually used to downplay and limit the importance of the mind. Just as our bodies have become living vessels unto the Lord, our minds have also. They become tools by which God speaks and shows Himself in the most intimate ways. Why do we think that God most often speaks to us through dreams? This is an entirely mental process.
We have tried to separate the mind, the will and the emotions into separate factions when they are actually one. We are a tripart being just as God is. If we want to empower Christians, we must ensure that we fully understand what God has designed us for. We must fully understand all of our parts and we must fully understand that the mind – just like the spirit and the body – is made by God to glorify God.
God is a God who thinks and He has created a people who do likewise.