If you’re like many North Americans, the “mind system” probably feels comfortable and familiar.
From the perspective of your spiritual anatomy, the mind system is your ability to think and learn.
This system is shaped and molded by many influences as we grow up. Some of these influences are institutional—the schools we attend, the churches in which we worship, the extracurricular activities that we pursue. Other influences are cultural, such as peer pressures and societal expectations.
In our Western culture, the mind system is often the one most commonly associated with spiritual growth and maturity. We expect our pastors to devote years of their lives to Bible study and theological studies. Our implicit belief is that a good pastor is someone who knows more about the Bible and sound doctrine than we do.
Studying the Bible and Christian theology is a very good thing. Much can be gained from this pursuit. Yet, while we do so, we must also remember that it is only part of what it means to be spiritually mature.
Interestingly, in the original Shamah (Deuteronomy 6:4-5), the mind is not even mentioned. Instead, it is included in the strength system, which is intended to be a catch-all. The Hebrew interpretation could have been something along the lines of, “Love God with all your heart, soul, and everything else.”
So, why does Jesus specifically add the mind when he affirms the Shamah as the greatest commandment in the New Testament?
I believe it is because he understood prophetically where the world was heading—toward a heavy intellectual emphasis, demonstrated by the Greek philosophy burgeoning all around him.
Jesus recognized the need for the mind system to have its own space. Knowing this, he reached into the strength system suitcase and pulled out the mind system to sit alongside it.
So, don’t misunderstand me: I’m not suggesting that we should under-emphasize the mind system. However, I want to encourage you—and, if I’m honest, myself—not to over-emphasize it either.
If the mind system is all we have, then our faith will be merely academic. And once we’ve tasted the fruit of healthy hearts and healthy souls, that kind of faith simply will not satisfy us.
Spiritual health certainly includes your mind. The key is to make sure it is not shouting over your heart, your soul, and your strength systems.