A phrase used in advertising for the National Negro Education Fund was “The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste”. That phrase has stayed in my mind for many years now.

We are not born with a mind. It is developed. We are born with a brain, and this marvelous organ begins at birth to record all the events of my life. Gradually, my mind begins to develop. My brain continues to record everything in my life, until I die.

Many years ago, I picked up a copy of the biography of Annie Sullivan. She was the daughter of Irish immigrants who landed in Boston. Her family was dysfunctional and Annie was born with bad eyes. She ended up in The Perkins School for the Blind where she learned to read and help was given to her eyes, although she could never see well.

There was a family who lived in Tuscumbia, Alabama, who had a daughter. A high fever attacked her when she was 2 years old, and she lost her sight and hearing. For three years she could see and hear nothing. She reverted to her basic animal instincts in order to exist. Her parents were ready to put her in an institution when they heard of The Perkins school for the Blind in Boston. Annie Sullivan was asked if she would be willing to travel to Tuscumbia and teach Helen Keller. Arrangements were made, and Annie found herself at the Keller home. Her responsibility was to train this five-year-old girl who could neither hear nor see.

From this point on the story becomes tragic, humorous, physical and gruesome, as Annie struggles to teach this girl who had learned to exist only by her basic instincts of survival. The miracle took place one day outside the Keller home. Annie had pumped herself a glass of cold water from the pump outside the house and Helen was trying to find the water that was still dripping from the pump. She then, with her hands, felt Annie drinking and, all at once, a dormant mind that understood nothing, drew the conclusion that this was water coming out of the pump and people could drink it to quench their thirst! Quickly, a brain that had been dormant through ignorance started on a long journey to become a great lady with a very brilliant mind. Annie continued to teach Helen through signals with the hands and fingers. Helen’s mind was opened like a sail in the wind. Annie accompanied Helen to an Ivy League university in Boston, teaching the lectures to Helen through this basic means of communication by signals with her hands and fingers. Helen became famous, traveling the world to represent what could be done for the handicapped; and Annie was right there with her, until her death. It is marvelous what can be done with the mind, once it is unlocked. It is capable of holding untold treasures.

The skilled surgeon can do surgery on the brain but cannot do surgery on the mind. I have developed my mind by everything I have seen, heard, read, and experienced. My mind can destroy me, or it can lift me above an otherwise dysfunctional and destructive life. We make the choice.
I refer to my mind as the “King” of my body. Basically, it has power to control all of me. It is supreme.

The Bible has much to say about the mind:
>There is a carnal mind.
>There is a spiritual mind.
>I can be earthly minded.
>My mind can be polluted.
>There are enemies of the mind.
>We can gird up the loins of our mind.
>We are encouraged to stir up our pure minds.
>Your mind can be blinded.
>We can have the mind of Christ.
There are over fifty mentions of the mind in the Bible. My mind becomes the well from which I drink through life. Some drink poisoned water. When Annie Sullivan was teaching Helen Keller about God, Helen’s response was, “I always knew He existed, I just did not know what to call Him”.

The Apostle Paul says in Romans 12:1-2; “I urge you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, to present you bodies a living sacrifice, which is your spiritual worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good, acceptable and perfect.” There are four words that grab my attention in these verses:

  1. Conformed

Before a dressmaker makes her dress, she uses a pattern. We are not to use the world as our pattern for developing our mind. Paul says, “love not the world, neither the things in the world…”. Galatians 5:16-25 gives us a good pattern for mind development.

   2. Transform

2 Corinthians 3:8 states; “But we all with unveiled faces, beholding as in a mirror, the glory of the Lord, and are being transformed into the same image”. Only God can transform the mind.

    3. Renewing

It means “to renovate or to invigorate”. Titus 3:5 states, “He saved us, not by deeds we have done, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.”

    4. Mind

This is what gets transformed and renewed. Our thoughts, intellect, understanding and imaginations.

Yes, the mind is a terrible thing to waste. Terrible things have happened to us. However, God Himself will help us to renew our minds, so we can reflect his glory, not our tragic past. The Holy Spirit is the Helper, so our minds can be changed to reflect the glory of God.

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