My caring and thoughtful daughter bought me the perfect birthday gift about a year ago. It was a desk calendar called, “Cross-Train Your Brain.” It has a new word or picture puzzle for each new day. It is also a place where I keep track of my daily devotions. Some of the puzzles are quite obvious, but in many, “your brain needs to do some complex parallel processing that synthesizes input from both the left-and right-brain hemispheres.” When I fail to get the answer, it is almost invariably because I’ve forgotten to think outside the box.

I searched in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible for the word brain but found nothing. However, the word mind and its variations covered a couple of pages. The dictionary defines both words in similar terms but with the brain consisting of the actual physical features and the mind as using the mental processes and reasoning and includes feelings and emotions.

The Jewish confession of faith called the Shema (hear) has been learned and quoted since Moses wrote it by inspiration in Deuteronomy 6:5. The Israelites were told to, “Love The Lord your God with all your HEART, SOUL AND STRENGTH…” In three of the Gospels (Matthew 22:35-40) (Mark 12:28-32) (Luke 10:27) the word MIND is added. It appears to me that Jesus wanted his listeners to “cross-train their brains” to think deeply about this commitment rather than just memorizing and blindly quoting it as a mantra. Total devotion is demanded towards God in all three areas.

Sometimes this took a mental picture of love in action as in the parables. The “Good Samaritan” challenged them to learn of mercy and kindness to all men—even strangers and enemies. We are told to use “the eyes of our heart” (Eph 1:18) in order to think outside the box. In doing this we will not think of people as an indiscriminate mass of humanity, rather as individual souls, each made in the image of God.
—Jim Bailey