We are familiar with loving God with all our heart and soul. But how do we love Him with our mind? We are commanded to do this in Matthew. It differs from heart and soul as this verse shows, Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Matthew 22:37 (NIV)
There are 2 Greek words in the New Testament that are both translated as mind. But there are subtle differences between the words.
The first word translated for mind in the Bible is dianoia–Imagination
This is the word used in Matthew 22:37 above.
Definition from Strong’s Concordance Diaonia : deep thought, properly, the faculty (mind or its disposition), by implication, its exercise: — imagination, mind, understanding.
The New Dictionary of Theology Volume 3 says when the Greek word dianoia is used in relation to the heart, it always means imagination.
Vine’s dictionary says dianoia is a faculty renewed by the Holy Spirit, called imagination.
So this verse could be translated, Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your imagination.” Matthew 22:37
Imagination? This is a word that is rarely used in Christianity. New agers, eastern religions, etc. use this word heavily. Maybe we don’t talk about imagination in Christianity because we don’t want to end up like the occult, new age, etc. I understand that concern.
But if our imagination is renewed by the Holy Spirit, then it will become a tool to love God. The word imagination is a God word, not a guru’s word.
How do I love the Lord with my imagination? Let’s try a practical exercise.
Close your eyes and picture yourself on a sandy beach with a cold iced tea in your hand as you are looking at the crystal blue ocean with the warm rays of the sun gently tanning you to a golden brown.
Or for those who prefer the beautiful majestic mountains, can you picture yourself in a beautiful mountain meadow with spring flowers blooming. There is an eagle soaring on the air currents and a soft gentle breeze on your face.
When you do this, and it is something we do often, you see that place in your imagination. Our imaginations are a powerful gift from God.
If you think about it, we practice imagining all day long. We are constantly thinking about the future. It may be as simple as what route we are to drive to get somewhere. Or we imagine what is it going to be like when I meet my friend.
Do you remember your first love? You were constantly thinking of that person. You imagined yourself in their presence. You imagined what you will say when you see them. You imagined your next date and the conversations you will have. You imagined where you would go and what you do.
It is no different in loving God. Imagine yourself with Him. Use some scriptures that describe heaven and imagine yourself there telling Him how much you love Him. Imagine what you would say to Him next time you pray or think about Him. Imagine what God looks like, where He lives, what He is doing right now. Imagine how much He loves you, how much you love Him. When we do this, we are loving God with our imagination.
There is no reason to be afraid of imagination when our hearts are turned towards God. We are imaging the goodness of God that is all around us.
Paul said, 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
The second word for mind in the Bible is dialogisimo–Reflection
Strong’s Concordance says Dialogisimo means, “to reckon thoroughly, to deliberate by reflection or discussion.”
Vine’s Dictionary defines dialogisimo as “a thinking through, or over, a meditation, reflecting,”
It speaks of the logical, reasoning, remembering, reflective mind. This is what we usually mean when we think of the mind.
Luke uses this word when speaking about Mary meeting Gabriel: “And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind [dialogisimo – her logical, reasoning, reflective mind] what manner of salutation this should be” (Luke 1:29 KJV).
So how does this word for mind help us to love God?
In our prayer time, remember and reflect on all the good things God has done and is doing for you. Tell Him of your gratefulness, appreciation, and tell Him why.
Our mind is not evil. We just need to renew our reasoning and imaginative mind!
Therefore gird up the loins of your mind [dianoia – imagination], be sober, and rest your hope fully on the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13)
Most Christians allow their mind to wander anywhere it wants. As followers of Christ, we need to cast down any thought or imagination that would exalt itself against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
When we do so, we will increase in our ability to love God, to walk in realms of revelation, to walk in deeper levels of intimacy.
And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind (dianoia – imagination) by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled (Colossians 1: 21)
James 4:8 (NIV 1984) Come near to God and he will come near to you.
So use your mind to imagine being with God and reflect on how He has always been with you.