A Spirit-Controlled, Mind-Controlled Body

by Pastor Jack Hyles

(Chapter 9 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Meet The Holy Spirit)

II Corinthians 10:5, "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."

Man is a threefold creature. For this study we shall call him a spirit, a mind and a body. There are six ways that these three can be arranged. The order of these three in a person's life will determine what he is. Following are these six arrangements:

1. First, spirit; second, mind; third, body. This is the way that the spiritual man has his priorities. The spirit controls the mind and the mind controls the body. In other words, the mind tells the body what too do. This is character. The mind tells the body when to get up in the morning, when to go to bed at night, what to eat, how much to eat, when to work, when to quit work. In other words, the appetites of the body are controlled by the mind. How sad it is when appetites control the body!

Not only does the mind tell the body what to do, but the spirit tells the mind what to do. We could go a step farther and say the spirit tells the mind what to tell the body to do. When the mind is controlled by the spirit and the body is controlled by the mind, then the body is controlled by the spirit. When a person's spirit controls his mind and his mind controls his body, he has learned something about the priorities in life.

2. First, spirit; second, body; third, mind. Notice in this arrangement, the spirit is first, so this person is saved, but his body controls his mind. The spirit tells the body what to do, but the body tells the mind ;what to do. This is a saved person who is spiritual and perhaps sincere, but he is unproductive. He has no schedule. He is not self-disciplined. He has no set prayer time, set Bible study time or set soul-winning time. Since he does not live by schedule, in school he will make bad grades. He will probably have no budget, so he will be in debt. Now his intentions are good. He intends to pay his debts because he knows it is right, but since the body controls the mind, he never gets around to drawing up a budget or setting a schedule. He is usually a heavy eater. Normally he is in a financial mess.

Some of the finest Christians I know have these priorities. They are sincere, they love the Lord, and if they feel an urge, they will pray. They will testify. They have a sincere devotion to Christ. They are spiritual. You will notice that the spirit is on top of the list. How tragic for such devotion to go to waste because of an unscheduled, undisciplined body which is not in subjection to the mind.

3. First, body; second, spirit; third, mind. Here is a believer. The spirit controls his mind, so he is probably saved, but his body controls his spirit. Because of this, he will no doubt have a religion that is associated with the physical. The beat of the music will be sensuous. He will want religious words set to rock music. This kind of Christian would wear excessive makeup, and to him, the charismatic movement would be appealing. Bear in mind, he is sincere, and he is probably saved, but his religion is flavored by the flesh.

4. First, mind; second, spirit; third, body. Now we are getting to the dangerous position. The mind is above the spirit and the spirit is above the body. This person is religious as is indicated by the spirit being above the body but his is usually not willing to accept the revealed Word of God and the fundamentals of the faith. He wants to understand it all, figure it all out. He is religious, for the spirit is over the body. Yet his mind determines his religion. This becomes spiritual idolatry. He has not made with his hands a material god, but he has made his god with his mind. This group would include liberals, cultists, legalists, etc. They will follow the way that seems right to a man. You often find them lodged in theological seminaries trying to disprove the virgin birth, the bodily resurrection or the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures. They are more concerned about figuring God out than they are in believing Him. The tragic thing about this group is that they often rise to places of responsibility in educational institutions an dare used by Satan to corrupt the minds of those whom they teach.

5. First, mind; second, body; third, spirit. This is good in one sense, because the mind is over the body. It is not good, however, because the body is over the spirit. Since the mind is over the body, this person usually has character. He is often successful. He is a decent citizen. He works hard. He pays his debts. He cares for his body. He may be a doctor, a lawyer or a successful businessman. He is what lazy folks would call an "overachiever," but he is not saved.

One of the reasons he is not saved is because he has little confidence in those Christians who put their bodies over their minds. He goes to work earlier than the preacher does. He is a success; the preacher is not. He is disciplined; the preacher is not. He is scheduled, the preacher is not. Hence, he does not want what the preacher has because he has no confidence in the preacher as a man. He works harder in his secular work than the preacher does in his spiritual work. He works harder for the temporal than the preacher does for the eternal. Perhaps he will doe and spend eternity in Hell because, though unsaved, had his mind before his body and has little or no confidence in those Christian who have their bodies controlling their minds.

6. First, body; second, mind; third, spirit. Here is the most dangerous crowd. They are those who believe that any thing goes. "Satisfy the physical appetites first" is their motto. "Eat, drink and be merry" is their dogma. These are they who build the permissive society and who spawn situation ethics. Their mind is above the spirit, so they have little use for God, the Bible, or for that matter, anything that is not temporal. Then because the body controls the mind, they are sensuous and dirty-minded; they yield to the beastly appetites. They make good hippies, love communal life, and are the material from which atheists are made; in general, they ruin society.

Every reader is in one of these six group. Classify yourself. Are you that one who has a spiritual-controlled, mind-controlled body where the spirit tells the mind what to do and the mind tells the body what to do? Or are you in that group where the spirit is first but the body controls the mind? You are saved but have little character. Do you find yourself in the third group where the body is first and then the spirit controls the mind? Do you find yourself looking for a religion that appeals to the senses? Are you in the group of admirable people who have character and whose body is in subjection to the mind but have never yet yielded to the Lord Jesus Christ and made yourself right with God through the Son? Or are you a part of that crowd whose spirit is controlled by the mind and whose mind is control by the body? Be honest with yourself and classify your priorities. Join that disciplined, productive, spiritual group who have a spirit-controlled, mind- controlled body.


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