The following discussion of the process by which the mind is renewed by the Holy Spirit is based upon psychological concepts adapted from psychoanalysis, the psychological system of Sigmund Freud. In psychoanalysis, a therapist uses free association and dream interpretation to enable a person to verbalize any repressed instinctual drives in the unconscious mind. The therapist seeks to modify the emotions and behavior by making the patient aware of the origin and effects of unconscious emotional conflict in the hope of eliminating or diminishing anxiety. In psychoanalytic theory, the psyche has three major mental constructs: the ID, the SUPEREGO, and the EGO.































The ID

The ID is the source of a person's unconscious instinctive impulses and desires. In Biblical terms we might call the ID the "bowels" (splanchna--source of affections) or the "heart" (kardia--source of the real person). The wise man said,

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).

Jesus told his disciples it was not what went into the mouth that defiled a man, but what came out of his mouth,

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man (Matt. 15:18-20).

For the sake of our discussion, I will equate the heart of man with the ID, for out of it proceeds the issues of life. However, not only does the ID harbor the desires and instincts, but it also has the hurts, the traumas, and the effects of the sins that have been committed against us.



The SUPEREGO is a partially conscious part of the psyche that has identified itself with parents, grandparents or others and has formed from the teachings or values of those persons a moral standard of behavior or an ethical value system. The SUPEREGO is divided into two parts: the CONSCIENCE and the EGO IDEAL.

The CONSCIENCE is the morally self-critical part of our minds that determines our concepts of right and wrong, good and evil, acceptable and non-acceptable behavior. We are not born with a set of values; our concepts of right and wrong, good and evil, acceptable and unacceptable are learned.

The EGO IDEAL is our self image, and it incorporates our life's goals and aspirations--the type of individual we wish to be. Some of us have been scripted by our parents to be a certain kind of person, and we spend our lives acting out the script they have handed to us.



The EGO is the "I," the conscious self, the central part of the personality which deals with reality and is influenced by social forces. The ego acts as a mediator. It seeks to resolve the conflict between the impulses from the ID and the ethical restraints from the SUPEREGO, thereby reducing anxiety. It is through the EGO that we express ourselves to the world. The world influences the EGO, and the EGO helps shape our world as we interact with social forces.



MENTAL MECHANISMS, sometimes called defense mechanisms, are processes, operating unconsciously, by which the ego or superego seeks to resolve emotional conflict and gain freedom from anxiety. When instincts or desires rise within us seeking to find expression to the world, the self-concept and the ethical values in the superego (the conscience and the ego ideal) may come in conflict with these desires or instincts, with the result that anxiety or mental conflict arises. The ego then seeks a way to reduce this anxiety through mental mechanisms.

For instance, you may feel guilty about your thoughts or feelings, so you accuse others of that activity in order to resolve the guilt. You have projected your guilt upon others. Or you may become angry and desire to punch someone in the nose; however, your superego reminds you that "you must turn the other cheek"; therefore, you suppress that anger. You go home, and the little dog runs out to see you. You yell at the little dog. You feel better. You could not strike the person, but you can yell at your little dog. This helps you to reduce the anxiety you feel about being angry. These are simple examples: however, we use many defense mechanisms to help us relieve our anxiety and maintain our mental balance.



As we have discussed the various aspects of the personality and the operation of the mind in maintaining mental balance and in reducing anxiety as psychological theory presents them, we have tried to lay a foundation for understanding the process by which the Holy Spirit renews the mind. Also, we previously discussed many scriptures related to the need for the renewal of the mind. The most important need for the renewing of the Holy Spirit in the life of the individual is seen in the tragic condition of man without God as set forth by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans. Paul paints this graphic portrait of the sinner:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them....Because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened...they became fools, And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections...And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful (Rom. 1:18-31).

This is the portrait of man without God. The one reason for such a dismal picture is SIN.


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