Most of us have shared our story with someone and told them how we came to be saved. And in the course of sharing our faith, there was a point in the story when we described the moment we prayed and asked Jesus to come into our hearts. And we usually go on to talk about what it means when a Christian gives his or her heart to Jesus Christ. Keep in mind that we didn’t just ask Jesus to come into our hearts at the moment we were saved, we alsogave our hearts to Jesus. But as important as it is to give our hearts to Jesus, we must give our MINDS to Jesus as well.
In Isaiah chapter 29, the prophet Isaiah spoke of men who honored God with their lips, but their hearts were far from Him. I think the reason why their hearts were far from God is because their minds were on things that were not of God. So in judgement, God told Isaiah that He would pour out a spirit of deep sleep on the people of Judah which would effectively cause everyone to be unable to perceive the words being spoken to them by the prophet. It didn’t matter whether they were educated or uneducated, or wise or foolish. God would supernaturally cloud their judgement. It would be as if they were intoxicated, according to the scripture in verse 9 of Isaiah 29.
Such is the power of God, that He can exercise that kind of control over the mind. The scriptural evidence for this is undeniable. The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar was walking in his garden exalting himself, telling himself how great he was in his own eyes. Before he even finished speaking those words, he instantly became insane…by the power of God. The scripture in Daniel chapter 4 says he ate grass like the oxen.
Saul battled bouts of insanity after he disobeyed God in his battle against the Amalakites. Ultimately, it resulted in the loss of his kingdom.
And sometime in the future at the beginning of the tribulation, the book of 2 Thessalonians says God will send a powerful delusion to cloud the minds of those who can not bear sound doctrine. In that time, God will withdraw His grace because they refused to believe. They will be given over to Satan.
So yes, God can control the minds of men either for our benefit or to our detriment. In Romans 1:28 the word says that since men did not like to retain the knowledge of God (the NLT says since men thought it foolish to acknowledge God), He gave them over to a debase, or reprobate mind. In other words, God gave them over to the wickedness that they desired. Their minds certainly were not set on things of God or Heaven. On the other hand, in Luke 24 verse 45 (this was when Jesus was speaking to His disciples after His resurrection), the scripture says, “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”
Paul understood. He knew what it meant to give our minds to God. He wrote about this at great length in several of his Epistles. For instance, in his letter to the Ephesians in chapter 4, he wrote, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
And in Romans chapter 8 Paul wrote, “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.”
In Matthew 22:37, Jesus said “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your….mind.” In fact, He said this was “the greatest of all the commandments”, to worship God with all our hearts and souls and minds.
Will our thoughts stray at times? Of course. Will there be distractions? Certainly. But it’s much easier to capture those stray thoughts and filter out the distractions when God has our minds as well as our hearts and souls. For Christians, there can be no other way! It’s better to give our minds to God, than for God to give our minds over to the enemy.