When I think about Enoch’s walk with God and where the issues of life flow from – the heart – it speaks to the nature of Enoch’s heart. It speaks to him having a clean heart, right spirit, and a renewed mind. Much of my time has been thinking deeply about being “transformed” by a “renewed mind”. So much time in Western thought has been spent on this idea too, both implicitly and explicitly.
The historical development and discipline of many social and neural sciences (i.e. sociology, psychology, psychiatry, and neurology, etc) increased their emphasis on brain/mind language over the decades. This pursuit generated metaphors, similes, allegories, and even contributed to theology. Christian thinkers, preachers, and teachers borrowed from these themes and ideas for presentations and explanations of the Word of God.
The use of the language alone was not necessarily wrong but it did generate a reduction of discipline of the heart teaching and practices in the name of fixing the mind and repairing the brain to tackle and resolve issues. Life and living was reduced to bad brains, unruly neurons, and broken synapses. If you fix the brain you fix behaviors. After decades of throwing science, research, and money at brain studies humanity has increased brain visibility but the heart of man is still broken and desperately wicked.
New Testament writers were Jewish and of Jewish decent in thought and in practice. They did not see difference between mind and heart. They might have more naturally saw “mind” as a synonym for “heart” in everyday life and living. Thus, transformation by way of renewal of mind paralleled “whatsoever a man thinks in his heart so is he” and “out of the abundance of heart the mouth speaks”.
The last few decades, however, have reintroduced emotion language back into the verbiage of pulpit presentations and bible teachings with phrases like “It’s not about religion. It’s about relationship.” While the phrase was an attempt to tackle the regidity of houses of worship, it was flawed in that there cannot be any type of relationship without systematic behaviors or discipline. Friendship requires discipline. Marriage requires discipline. Parenting requires discipline. Working with or for others requires discipline. No relationship thrives without structure and discipline.
The benefit of the phrase, however, is it eventually moved people to have genuine conversations about relationship with God and what relationship with Him really meant. It challenged men, women, husbands, wives, sons, and daughters to deeply and thoughtfully consider Enoch’s life and what walking with God ought to look like for us all.