The following Scriptures show that a change in heart (i.e. primarily a change in our will) comes BEFORE mental understanding, and that willingness to do God’s will is the first step to a change in heart.
Note: These do not show that engaging the intellect and mind is an unfruitful ministry. Paul clearly refutes this in 2 Cor. 10:5 and other passages. Instead, engaging the mind can help remove and minimize satanic obstacles, so that someone can be in a better position to believe in their heart and be justified (Rom. 10:10). But we must always remember that the heart is the issue, not the mind.
Scriptures (in Biblical Order)
- Judges – Samson’s hair cut first (sign of his consecration and holiness compromised, see Num. 6), then his eyes blinds (symbol of lack of revelation)
- 1 Sam. 3 – he never heard God clearly until he was willing to be God’s servant (“Speak, for your servant is listening”)
- Ps. 18:25-26
- Ps. 25:9
- Ps. 111:10
- Prov. 1:23
- Prov. 2:7
- Prov. 9:10
- Eze. 12:2
- John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus through repentance
- Matt. 5:8
- Matt. 6:22-24
- Matt. 22:37
- Luke 5:27-32
- Luke 13:35 – seeing Jesus is contingent on a heart attitude that welcomes God’s Messenger (Christ), and by extension, others whom God sends to tell us about Christ (N.T. writers) – “blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”
- Luke 15:31
- John 5:37-42
- John 7:17
- Matt. 13; Mark 4; Luke 8 – parable of sower
- 2 Cor. 3:16
- Eph. 4:18 – hard hearts cause ignorance
- 2 Thes. 2:10-11
- Titus 1:15
- James 1:6 compared with James 4:8
- James 1:21-25
In William R. Bright’s Foreword to Josh McDowell’s, New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, he states:
During my fifty-five years of sharing the good news of the Savior with the academic world, I have met very few individuals who have honestly considered the evidence and yet deny that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of men…However, not all–not even the majority–of those to whom I have spoken have accepted Him as their Savior and Lord. This is not because they were unable to believe–they were simply unwilling to believe!
For example, a brilliant but confused psychiatrist came to Arrowhead Springs for counsel. He confessed frankly to me that he had never been willing to consider honestly the claims of Christ in his own life for fear that he would be convinced and, as a result, would have to change his way of life.Josh McDowell’s, The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, 1999, p. xii
In the Introduction to the same book, Josh McDowell writes:
Michael Green cites Aldous Huxley, the atheist, who has destroyed the beliefs of many and has been hailed as a great intellect. Huxley admits his own biases…when he says:
I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves….For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political.Josh McDowell’s, The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, 1999, p. xli
For more on this topic, see The Deception of Knowledge.
2 thoughts on “Heart & Mind”
I’ve been praying lately for God to renew my mind. In 2021 he gave me Romans 12:1-2 consistently, I made it my current ‘life verse’. I have been diagnosed with bipolar depression II…I feel like I have made the heart change, but need my mind to stop wandering and be so easily influenced by feelings and/or arrows from the enemy.
Thanks for sharing Navinder. This is a helpful life testimony to add here. Good points. One clarifier I added as a result of your comment is that I’m defining heart as primarily our will, though emotions can be a secondary characteristic as well. But I do think there is a training and discipling of the mind that relates but is a separate consideration. Glad you brought it up and hope you’re well!