The Gap Between the Mind and the Heart

If I were given a chance I would have asked Bro. Ravi Zacharias why is there such a disconnect between my heart (inner man) and my mind (which dictates the outward actions of my body)? My heart yearns to be fully subjected to God’s will but my body just doesn’t seem to consistently follow through.
I guess, in summary, consistency is my issue.
I would have wanted Ravi to pierce through my question and reveal what kind of heart I have behind that question.
Sharing it here to hear your thoughts.


When it comes to the immaterial part of man, people tend to use words like soul, spirit, heart, mind and will in different ways. Part of this is because the Bible tends to use them in certain ways, but not always. So there is some ambiguity as to how we use these words.

Having said that, though, it does seem that in general, we use the word soul to refer to the human nature that has been passed down from our first parents to every child to the end of time. This is the image of God that was breathed into man at the start. At least, that is how I’m going to use the word for the sake of discussion.

I view the soul as reflecting the glory of God in three ways - we have a mind to think as God thinks, a heart to feel as He feels, and a free will to act as He acts.

Unfortunately, the disobedience in Eden added a new element to mankind both inside and out - a sin nature. The sin nature corrupts our body with carnal lusts that are driven by physical forces. And it also dwells on the inside along with our human nature.

Regarding the inside, I believe that the sin nature and the human nature (the soul) are two distinct things. Adam and Eve had a human soul before they had a sin nature. Jesus had a human soul and never corrupted it with a sin nature. Sometimes I hear people use the phrase, “our fallen human nature”, but I do not think the human nature itself is what is fallen about us. I believe the sin nature is in addition to our soul.

And the sin nature damages our human soul - like acid or a disease. Sin dehumanizes people. The more one gives in to his sin nature, the less “human” his soul becomes. Because Jesus’ soul was never corrupted with a sin nature, He was the most perfectly “human” Being Who ever lived - the only true “Son of man”.

And the most sinful human who ever lives will be called “the Beast” - a totally dehumanized monster.

But when a man repents and believes the gospel, the sin nature (called the old man in Romans 6:6) is dead and buried - never to return. And there is simultaneously born, or resurrected (the Bible uses both terms) within him a new nature to replace the sin nature - the new birth of the Spirit, the divine nature.

And this new Spiritual nature begins healing all the damage that the sin nature had wrought on the human soul - restoring our lost humanity, reconforming us back into the image of the perfect Son of man. God’s truth clears out the deceptions of sin and restores to us a spiritual mind. His love restores our heart, His power restores our will - all of this to enable us to think as God thinks, feel as He feels and act as He acts once again.

But while all of this is going on inside the man, the body on the outside is still just as corrupt and fallen as it ever was. The death of the old and the resurrection of the new that took place on the inside will someday happen on the outside also. But in the meantime, there is a lifelong struggle between the new nature within and the old nature without - Galatians 5:17.

And that brings us to the struggle that you were asking about. The conflict you’re dealing with arises because the Holy Spirit inside you is urging in one direction, but the fallen flesh is urging in another. You have the soul of a saint inside the body of a sinner. The nature of Adam outside and the nature of God inside.

So your soul wants to be at peace, but someone makes an insulting comment and your flesh churns out adrenaline that makes you want to swing a fist - and your Spirit has to say, “No, flesh! Bad, bad flesh! Down, flesh - down!”

Your soul wants to be pure, but some bikini babe goes bouncing by, and your flesh churns out hormones - and your Spirit has to say, “Down, flesh! No, no, flesh! Bad, flesh - bad!”

Because when I say “the flesh”, I’m talking about everything physical - the body and all its juices - all its enzymes and chemicals and hormones that powerfully affect our thoughts and feelings. We tend to think of these as a part of the invisible, immaterial nature. But there is some level where the physical and the spiritual meet, because these juices definitely affect our mind and heart, although nothing made of atoms is actually a part of the non-material realm inside us.

Notice, for example, how Galatians 5:19-21 lists as works of the flesh such things as hatred, wrath, strife, lasciviousness, envy, and such like things which are certainly very emotional, but they are stirred up by glandular secretions which are carnal in origin.

So, back to your question - I would say that this is the explanation of why your “heart yearns to be fully subjected to God’s will but” your “body just doesn’t seem to consistently follow through.” That is a perfect description of the new nature of the Spirit struggling with the old nature of the flesh. And it is a powerful testimony to the ongoing work of the Spirit inside you.

A genuinely born again child of God can never be okay with living in a way that he believes the Bible disapproves. It grieves his Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). It vexes his righteous soul (II Peter 2:7-9).

I hope this will help you make sense of all you are going through!


Hi, Bro. @jlyons :wave:

I like to explore that new thought,

Never thought of it that way before.

The hormonal aspects of human physiology is really something. Though I’m sure those glands that produces these hormones were part of God’s design, they really play great role in these struggle.

Thank you for giving me something to chew on on this issue :slight_smile:

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Hello @DCGotiza, you ask, what I’d sum up as, the question for the ages. Thanks for your trust here. :slight_smile: Here’s what I mean.
If we examine man-made religion, we find devotees trying to find some way to ‘feel better’ about themselves. Yet, to the most sincere, even their ‘good works’ cannot appease an “evil” conscience. (Hebrews talks about this in context of the Law (of Moses) never being able to free the children of Israel from their sin-consciousness).

Herein lies, in the distinction of the Faith of Jesus Christ, the believer trusting only in His death, burial and resurrection to save them, the power of God unto Salvation! Rom 1:16-17. Christianity not a striving in the flesh trying one’s best to modify behavior to please God, living under the law of sin and death, but the reality of a new identity; “To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved”. Eph 1:6. :raised_hands:t3:

Thank you @jlyons for pointing to Paul in Galatians, the one to whom was given the “dispensation of grace”, Eph 3:2, who wrote extensively on this conflict of the Spirit with the flesh in Rom 7&8. “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (sin leads to death) Rom 7:24.
What did Paul find…? Doctrine!
“I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin”. Rom 7:25. He does bring this up with the Galatians in Chapter 5, having clearly laid out in Chpt 4, this new identity as sons, God as Father, and the victory of a life of Grace. “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” Gal 4:9. We must, however, not miss right after Gal 5:17, God’s Word says, “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” v18. Then v19-21 the “works of the flesh”. And again…immediately after in v22-23, the results of “walking in the Spirit” v25. Notice the ‘buts’. What makes the difference again? v24 “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts”. Right doctrine is the game-changer!!!
That’s your key Dennis, be encouraged to find a good teacher of Grace, one who rightly divides the word of truth. 2Tim 2:15. Begin with Romans, study and grow in grace and the knowledge of who God has made you “in Christ”. You’ll find as your mind is renewed, Rom 12:2, the Holy Spirit takes these truths, works to transform you from the inside out and teaches you how to walk in the Spirit mortifying the deeds of the body. Rom 8:13.
No, we’ll never arrive as long as we’re in these earthly bodies, but sin (anything outside the will of God) does not have to dominate (Rom 6:14) (this is good news, not the legalistic teaching you may have heard on this verse so often, as I have :anguished:) the growing, maturing child of God and indeed I testify to the liberty that Jesus paid all that we should walk in it. :raised_hands:t3:

Important, indeed crucial question for the believer desiring not to remain a babe. Always glad for the chance to boldly proclaim God’s Grace! Asked and answered thoroughly in His Word, we find in Paul’s unique ministry, given not of man, but by revelation of the Risen Christ. Gal 1:12. If only more would believe it, receive it and not be ashamed of the Power of the Gospel that points all the glory to God. :clap:t3: :raised_hands:t3:

I :pray:t3:this is edifying, dear brother…Happy Studying! :slight_smile:
In time would luv to hear of your good testimony of the victory that awaits that only gets more and more amazing the longer we journey on… :pray:t3: :v:t3:

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Hi DC!

I just wanted to add something from my own struggles with this question. The one thing I have discovered is that the “heart” aspect is relational in nature. True emotional and relational intimacy with anyone is developed through time getting to know them, and is strengthened over a lifetime. The same is true of our relationship with Jesus. Perhaps one of the key ways to help our hearts respond more quickly is through trust. More dependence = more attachment. Also, learning to detach from other things that impede my experience of enjoying God’s love and my relationship with Him.