Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hearts and Minds

I'm not much of a crier. (This should not surprise anyone) I'm not cold or senseless (at least, I don't think I am), I just show my emotion less and less often than most people. Partly I think this is because I value my intellect and willful mind over and above my emotions. (The computers I work with may be rubbing off on me) In my weaker moments I even tend to see them as being in conflict with each other as if my head were good and my heart were evil. Then 1 Corinthians 7:37 (don't worry, I'm just bringing up the chapter briefly) jumped out at me in how it differed between my two Bibles. In the NIV it reads:
But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin--this man also does the right thing.
And in the ESV:
But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well.
Where the NIV uses "mind" and "will", the ESV uses "heart" and "desire" in the same places. I would never consider these pairs of words to be interchangeable, but apparently Paul and the Greeks thought differently.

Looking up the Greek words, the original text uses the word καρδια ("kardia") to mean "mind" or "heart", and θελημα ("thelema") to mean "will" or "desire". Strong's definition of καρδια includes "the soul or mind, as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavours";  θελημα means "will, choice, inclination, desire, or pleasure". Clearly the New Testament writers had a more holistic view of people; καρδια in particular is used over 150 times throughout the NT to mean "heart", "mind", or "thoughts". They didn't draw battle lines between thoughts and emotions--in Romans 7:22-23, Paul lays out the real conflict in each of us.
For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.
 The real struggle is between these two laws (powers or influences over us): our old, sinful nature, and our new, redeemed nature. Maybe you're like me and find yourself seeing your emotions as problems or obstacles. Maybe you're the opposite and struggle to willfully live out your passion for God (maybe it doesn't look exactly like that). Whatever your case, know that Jesus' prayer and intention is that one day we may "all be one" (John 17:21), I believe in ourselves as well as with each other. Every part of our selves that God has made will be perfected and find total joy and freedom in unity with Him. I just love looking forward to heaven!

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