Heart to Mind
It is not uncommon for many in the believing community to struggle with thoughts (and often with actions that follow) that are not congruent with the new life in Messiah. We have battled and have worked, perhaps even for years, to renew our minds as Paul directs us in Romans 12:2: “ …do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of YHVH is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect”.
The Greek word for “transformed” is metamorphoō, the sound of which recalls the term used in science to describe the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly while in a cocoon. But as far as our transformation/renewal (of the mind), I would like to raise the question regarding our ability to actually make such a change through our own efforts. If the Creator has already placed into the life of the caterpillar this effortless transitional ability, would that not be the same for us? That is, have we not been given an innate possibility for this to happen? But, on the other hand, I’m sure that the apostle would not have said the above if it we were not supposed to be directly involved in the process. So what is the secret, the mystery behind metamorphosis? How can we be truly renewed in our mind, especially since our thoughts are connected to the condition of our hearts?
From Yeshua we learn what is actually in the heart: "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man" (Mark 7:21-23). The obvious answer to the renewing of the mind question, is first discovering the condition of the heart. If the heart is in the above-described state, clearly the mind will be defiled and evil thoughts will come out of our mouths in the form of words (and quite possibly deeds). “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” (Matthew 12:34), thus preventing or hindering the process of change. The good news is that, through the New Covenant, YHVH gives us a new heart or renewed heart. In Psalm 51:10 David cries out to YHVH: “Create in me a clean heart, O Elohim, and renew a steadfast spirit within me”. Although even with the heart change there will still be a conflict with spiritual principalities and powers along with the flesh, hindering the mind renewal progress.
“But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18). While standing in front of three witnesses Yeshua was suddenly transformed (metamorphoo) right in front of them. Here is what they saw: “And He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light” (Matthew 17:2). We too are promised the exact same transformation: “… this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53). But this end phase will take place in a “twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet” (verse 52).
When the worm begins to decrease, there is an upsurge of new life and it eventually reappears as a butterfly, although it is still an insect. So as human beings, we are like the worm (consumer) but once we embrace through faith the true gospel of the Kingdom the change begins - dying to the flesh, and at the same time being transformed into a new creation (becoming ‘life givers’) while yet still human beings. The principle of ‘first the natural then the spiritual’ continues to hold true: “So also it is written, ‘the first man, Adam, became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:45-47). When we look at the caterpillar do we see a butterfly? When we look into a mirror, although we see our natural face, can we see by faith also the spiritual man? “And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Corinthians 15:49).
“Beloved, now we are children of Elohim, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2).
It seems that in order to let the mind renewal process take place, it has to start by first examining the nature of our heart. As referred to above, did YHVH not promise that He would remove the heart of stone, and give us a heart of flesh? "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26 emphases added), so that we can “…. be renewed in the spirit of your/our mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of Elohim has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ephesians 4:23-24 emphasis added). “But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).