Loving God with your mind

In Job 19:25 Job, in the midst of his struggle makes a profound statement when he says “But I know my living Redeemer, and He will stand on the dust at last” (HCSB). I think this is important to remember when discussing why we should value the life of the mind. It was by Job’s knowing or understanding with his mind that he was able to place his confidence in God. His knowledge led him to have a faith that went beyond what he saw in the situation and gave him clarity. Feelings and emotions can play tricks on us. They can deceive us and make us focus solely on the situation at hand but knowing helps navigate us to truth. This is why Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is the substance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Faith can be blind but only in the context of it being sure and based on something. I do not blindly follow Christianity because someone told me too. I belong to the faith because I have tested it, examined it, and proved it with my heart, my experiences, and my mind. Jesus said we are to love God with our minds as well as our hearts and souls. From a biblical perspective, we are to worship God with our minds (Romans 12:1-2) and we are to love Him with our minds (Luke 10:27).  

Resistance in the church to value the mind is somewhat of a mystery to me. I want to give the benefit of the doubt though and suggest it is possibly a mix of tradition and an overwhelmed feeling. Many Christians have been taught to seek after God in prayer, to worship Him in song, and to not get caught up in the details. This has led many a believer to forget to engage the mind. As the old saying goes out of sight out of mind. If you are not thinking about increasing knowledge than you do not do it. It must become a habit. Others like myself struggle with verse memorization so we get discouraged and stop trying. When instead we must keep at it and work on our strengths. Sometimes I feel like Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof saying “as the good book says” only I know the good book actually says what I am saying. I am able to explain what the Bible says but I get confused on exactly where it is. I know I struggle here so I exercise my mind to work on it. People also become overwhelmed because of the sheer volume of information in the Bible

The mind is vitally important to spiritual growth and as J.P. Moreland says in his book Love God with all your mind “we can change our beliefs indirectly” (88). If I struggle with believing that God is good I cannot make myself believe that but I can read and study God’s claims for His being good and let the evidence change my mind and in turn that changes my perspective of everything else.

 

Just a thought,

Mike

Confession

I want to take a quick break from our reading through John to make a confession. 

I am reading through Cast of Characters by Max Lucado.  It is a good book and I recommend it if you are looking for something that you can pick up and put down.  There are 20 something chapters but each one is on a different individual from the Bible.

Anyway, the last chapter I read was Job and to be honest I was not expecting what I read.  I have read the book of Job and have often skipped over most of the dialog.  I won’t lie to you, I find the dialog so difficult to read that I know I am missing most if what is being said.  Usually what I do is read the first few chapters and the last few.  I think one time I read the whole thing but I do not remember when. 

I am going to just quote what I read.
“For six chapters Job gives his opinions on God,  This time the chapters headings read “and Job continued,” “and Job continued,” “and Job continued.”  He defines God, explains God, and reviews God.  One gets the impression that Job knows more about God than God does…… God answers and He floods the sky with quieres, and Job cannot help but get the point: Only God defines God….”

God asks Job questions about how the stars were hung, where the Earths cornerstone is, how wide it is.  All these questions were designed to get Job to understand he does not know as much as he thinks.

What am I confessing you might be asking by now?  Do I feel I try to defend God, try to explain the unexplainable…. Well the simple answer is NO, that is not at all what I am confessing but now I know how you really feel.  Goodness you think you know someone….

No, what I realized is I am worried about the future.  I thought what I was doing was planning and trying to figure out how to pay off debt so my family can go into Missions or Bible College and to an extent that is what I was doing but to a much larger extent what I was doing was fretting and worrying about how to do it.  I have been trying to come up with the way to make my dreams come to pass but in all reality I cannot make it happen.  I cannot come up with ways or convince God to do something my way.  He is God and He has His plans.

Two things, first from John chapter 2 (looks like I am sharing from John). 

His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
John 2:5

Simply put if God’s plans and my dreams are one in the same He will tell me what to do.  I may not see how it will make the end goal come to pass but He will give me direction.  All I have to do is what I know He is telling me to do at this moment.  That is where faith comes in.  When you do not know what the step after this one is you have to have faith that the God who does know will tell you.

Second is from the book of Jeremiah.

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know
Jeremiah 33:3

Understand you and I have ideas all of the time.  We may not share them with others but we have ideas of how something should or could be done, but our ideas are pretty lame compared to God’s ideas.  His plans are so much bigger and better that it makes us look well human.  If we call out to God and just ask, don’t tell, or deal, or plead, or beg, or whine (God does not like whining), the He will tell us things we do not know.  Shouldn’t I believe that can also be about how to, or when to, or what to?

SO my confession is that I am worried and letting it get in the way of doing, and honestly sometimes I am a whiner. 

On a side note I want to thank someone named Michelle who wrote about Matthew chapter 6 that seemed to plant that seed in my head.

Just a thought,
Mike