III. HEART, SOUL, MIND, AND STRENGTH
Mark 12:30-31 says, "`And you shall love the Lord your God from your whole heart and from your whole soul and from your whole mind and from your whole strength.’ The second is this: `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’" These verses say that God can save us to such an extent that we love God with all. He can also save us to the extent that we love others unselfishly.
How difficult it is to love God with all! Oftentimes we want to love God, but we secretly want to love the world as well. We want to serve God, and we also want to serve mammon. Oftentimes the love in our heart toward God is distracted by many people and many things. But God can save us to the extent of loving God "with all." We can love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength. God can even save us so that we not only love God, but we also love others without any selfishness at all.
Brothers and sisters! If we cannot love God to the extent of "with all," if there are still other persons, other objects, or other things besides God as the center of our love, and moreover, if we cannot love others as ourselves in addition to loving God, then the salvation we have obtained is not complete. Christ can save us to such an extent that we can love God "with all" and we can love others unselfishly. This is possible. We praise Him!
Second Corinthians 11:3 says, "But I fear lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your thoughts would be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity toward Christ." This verse implies that our mind can be saved to the extent of being "simple and pure."
Many times we want to obey the Lord, consecrate to the Lord, and only love the Lord. But how difficult this is! It is very, very difficult because we do not have the strength. We often find ourselves failing. We wish we could love the Lord with all our love. We wish our heart towards the Lord would be simple, without corruption, and single and pure. How good such a condition would be! We hope for this experience, but it seems that it can hardly be realized. However, God can save us to such a degree. This is possible. This can be done. Our heart must be simple and pure. If we are always double-minded, we will be like Eve. On the one hand, Eve saw that the fruit was good for food and, on the other hand, she was reminded of what God said about not eating the fruit. On the one hand, she saw that the fruit was pleasant to the eyes and was to be desired; on the other hand, she thought of God’s commandment of not eating. Her heart was moved, and once she loved the fruit, she ate it. For just an instant and by a slight deviation, Eve lost her simplicity and purity toward Christ.
Brothers and sisters! Do we want a simple and pure heart toward Christ? We should love Him! We should not be afraid of loving Him too much. We should love Him unreservedly and love Him without reasoning. Praise and thank God that He can save us to such an extent that we have a simple and pure heart toward Christ! This is possible!
Romans 12:2 says, "And do not be fashioned according to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect." This verse tells us that God can save our mind to the extent that we are transformed by its renewing and that we can prove the will of God.
Brothers and sisters! Have you ever thought about this? A renewed mind is able to prove the good, well pleasing, and perfect will of God. Many times, this seems to be God’s will, and that also seems to be God’s will. Many times we take John for Jack and Jack for John. Only a renewed mind can rightly discern God’s will. If our mind is not renewed, we cannot prove what the will of God is, and the salvation we gain will not be complete. Not only did God save us to what we are today, God will also save us to the extent of being perfect. We should desire after this. Praise and thank God! This is possible. This can be done.
Second Corinthians 10:5-6 says, "As we overthrow reasonings and every high thing rising up against the knowledge of God, and take captive every thought unto the obedience of Christ. And we are ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled." These two verses speak of God being able to save our thoughts unto the obedience of Christ. God can save our thoughts, all our thoughts, unto the obedience of Christ.
Brothers and sisters! Every one of us should ask ourselves, "Can we control our thoughts?" We know that there are many thoughts which we cannot control. God does not allow us to have confusing and disorderly thoughts; God intends to bring our many thoughts to the obedience of Christ.
Brothers and sisters! Let me ask you, "Have all your thoughts been brought to the obedience of Christ?" We should not have any wandering thoughts, filthy thoughts, or world-craving thoughts. If we still have these thoughts, we have not obtained a full salvation. God’s salvation can bring the thoughts of every believer to the obedience of Christ. This can be done. We can surrender all our thoughts to the Lord, that is, to the obedience of the Lord. This is the salvation which is prepared for us in Christ. Not only does God save us unto eternal life or to heaven, but He also wants to save our whole being, that is, all our thoughts, to the obedience of Christ. Praise and thank God! This can be done. This is possible. He can save us to such an extent.
First Peter 1:13 says, "Therefore girding up the loins of your mind and being sober, set your hope perfectly on the grace being brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." "The loins of our mind" refer to our thoughts. This verse tells us that God is able to save our loose mind to the extent that it is focused.
I have mentioned before that the Jewish garment was like the garment worn in the Ming Dynasty. It was loose and buttonless. Whenever the people worked, the loins had to be girded up to facilitate movement. Our loose thoughts are like an ungirded loin. But just as a person can gird up his loins, God can save our loose thoughts and bring them into focus.
Many times, though our thoughts are not filthy, they are loose and wandering. We pray a little, and then we find that our mind wanders away. We read the Bible a little, and again our thoughts are lost. It is true that the thoughts may not be bad. But minds set on good or tasteful things, if not done at the proper time, also indicate a looseness of the loins of our mind and lack of concentration. God can save us to such an extent that we can control our thoughts and focus our mind. How loose are our thoughts! If we cannot concentrate in our mind, we have not obtained the complete salvation. If we have not obtained it, we should know that Christ can save us not only to our present state, but He can save us to the state of perfection. Praise and thank God! He can also save our loose thoughts to the extent of being focused. This is possible. This can be done.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 08: The Present Testimony (1), Chapter 27, by Watchman Nee)