Heart, Mind, Will

How’s Your Inner Man?

I hate to admit this, but vacations are rough on my body.  The stress of traveling, over eating, early mornings, long days, sleepless nights, and over eating all take their toll on me.

Yes, I did say over eating twice.

I was shocked when I stepped on my scales when we got home from our last trip.  Let’s just say that I brought back a lot more from Disney World than souvenirs.

That’s OK. I went to work immediately to remedy the situation.  I returned to my regular routine.  I started cutting back at the dinner table.  And I thought long and hard about exercising (since the brain is the largest secreting organ in the body, I figure that the more you think about something, the more calories you burn).

I’m not where I want to be with my outward appearance, but I’m getting there.

But there is more to a person than what meets the eye.  I would even venture to say that what can’t be seen is even more important than what can be seen.

My reading in the book of Ephesians this week helped to confirm this for me. In the third chapter, Paul lets the Ephesian Christians know that he is praying for them.  He is specifically praying that they would, “be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.”

I think this Inner Man Paul speaks of is a realm we are all too neglectful of.  Inner Man is a term that begs for some definition.

I think there are three good words to help us flesh out what this Inner Man is.

Heart –Biologically the word heart makes the most sense in talking about our Inner Man.  We attribute our affections to the realm of the heart.  It makes sense that Paul would pray that we would be strong hearted.  We are, after all, emotional beings.  Since people are often swayed by their emotions, Paul prays for believers to feel strongly for the things of God and to be strong enough in their hearts not to be won over by false teachings or worldly temptations.

Mind – The mind is the realm of the intellect.  Reason and knowledge come together to help us process our world properly, and with wisdom.  We need our minds fortified by the teaching agency of the Spirit.  Jesus told his disciples that the Spirit would “guide them into all truth.”  Think of it this way: The Spirit of God helps our minds to appropriate the word of God.

Will – There needs to be one more body part between the mind and the heart for me to bring this full circle.  I couldn’t  find what that little thing hanging down at the back of your throat is called, so we can’t use that.  Voice Box just doesn’t cut it for where I’m going with this.  I would use tonsils, but I don’t have any and I don’t want to be left out in my own article.  The Will is that intangible part within us that prompts us to go even when we don’t feel like it.  It moves us to action even when action might not be reasonable.  Whereas the heart is the realm of feelings, and the mind is the realm of intellect, the will is the realm of doing.  We definitely need the Spirit’s strengthening in our Will.  The heart by itself, can lead us astray.  The mind alone can become cold and calculating and callous.  The Will unites intellect and emotion in action.

Our Christianity is not a religion relegated to the affections of the heart.  It is not a faith segregated to the intelligence.  It touches both and lives itself out through the Will that is transformed by the power and grace of God.

I think this is what Paul is praying for those early Christians.  I think Paul prays this so we can learn to say with him, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

I may not be where I want to be with my Inner Man, but by His help, I’m getting there.