Loving God with all your mind

There was a quote I remember reading years ago, though I can’t remember from whom, that went something like this, “I was thinking the other day that my brain has got to be the greatest organ in my body, but then I realized who was telling me this.”  Very funny!

The brain is arguably the most powerful organ in the human body. After all, it’s responsible for everything from the way I move to what I think. It’s even active while I’m asleep. 85 billion neurons complete upwards of five trillion chemical reactions each second, at speeds of over 260 miles per hour. That’s powerful.

The human mind is more powerful than the largest supercomputer and can solve great problems. However, what many people don’t realize is that as powerful as the human mind is, it is powerless to accomplish anything spiritually unless and until it is reprogrammed by God.

In the same way that humans are alive physically but dead spiritually – until God performs the miracle of removing the heart of stone (dead to God and all things spiritual), replacing it with a heart of flesh, and putting in a “new spirit” (Ezekiel 36:26-27) – humans are spiritually brain-dead until God miraculously reprograms the brain to accept and obey spiritual truth.

I’ve often used David E. Matthews quote, “It does not require half as much brains to find out something is wrong as it does to correct it.” The fact is, however, that until God initiates a brain awakening, the human mind (half or otherwise) is not capable of figuring out that anything is wrong spiritually.

In our natural, unregenerate state, there is something dramatically wrong with our minds. As a consequence of our suppressing the knowledge of God in our sin, we have been given over to a debased mind (Romans 1:28).

Though it may appear to be so at times, unsaved people do not ever seek after God. Unregenerate people who look like they are seeking after god, as Thomas Aquinas said, are seeking the benefits only God can give, not God Himself.

To have a sound mind, a spiritual mind, a mind that seeks after God and desires to do what is right, one must first be touched by the ultimate spiritual awakening brain surgeon, the Holy Spirit. And that is only the beginning. Though now capable of becoming like Christ, a new spiritually awakened mind is virtually empty. The only way we can be transformed is with a renewed mind (Romans 12:1-2). As R.C. Sproul said, “A renewed mind results from diligently pursuing the knowledge of God… True Christians want God to dominate their thinking and to fill their minds with ideas of Himself.” That’s how we love God with all our mind!

“He answered, ‘Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Luke 10:27

Pot People

One of the great metaphors of Scripture that’s meant to set things in perspective for us, the creatures, is Isaiah 64:8, “You [Lord] are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”

Though humans continue to greatly exaggerate their intelligence and significance, the fact of the matter is, we are nothing more than pot people, mud-men and dust-dolly’s. Nothing should be more humbling for humans than to realize we were made from dirt, and only came alive when God breathed in life.

I love the imagery of the potter’s house, where Jeremiah was instructed by God to go and observe the art of shaping a vessel, a pot, from clay. The clay was shaped by strong hands holding the wet clay to a center position on the wheel, while his feet kept the wheel moving. But, Jeremiah observed that “the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands.” This was a picture of the fact that since the sin of Adam, God, as the artist of human life, is never working with a clean canvas. We are marred. We are damaged and disfigured. And, it’s actually worse than that, because unlike the clay, we fight back when God tries to fix us.

There’s a great scene where Geppetto is carving Pinocchio and he gets to the eyes and they start wandering around deviously. Pinocchio manages to free one arm and pulls off Geppetto’s wig and tosses it to the ground. Geppetto then says, “I have not even finished making you yet and already you are doing bad things.”

That depicts so well what God must feel like when He graciously tries to reshape us after His will and we rebel. Isaiah 45:9 says, “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’?”

The glory of what Jeremiah witnessed at the potter’s house was what followed the mangled pot in the potter’s hands. Without flinching, the potter simply “formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.” “‘Can I not do with you as this potter does?’, declares the Lord. Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand.’”

So, there you have it. The love story of the Bible is that God is willing to remake us into what we were intended to be. But never forget that obedience is the requirement for God’s use of your life.

“Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8

Retreat or Engage

Retreat or Engage

We’re living at a time when with increasing measure, as Christians, we are going to have to decide to do one of the following; retreat or engage. I know plenty of sincere and committed Christians who don’t want to pick a culture war with anyone. They’re not looking to rumble over religion. But they also don’t want to potentially face losing their job over refusing to attend the office party thrown for their coworker, to celebrate his recent marriage to his same-sex partner.

As Denny Burk said, in his article titled What the Future Holds, Christians are beginning to realize that their place in American life is now being adjudicated in the court of public opinion. And it is not at all clear whether this will end well for the Christian church.

Some Christians believe that we should retreat and disengagement from the culture. Others say that we need to engage the culture war and fight for what’s right, based on what the Bible teaches.

So which is it, fight or flight, retreat or engage?

Let’s look the words of Jesus’ prayer just before He was handed over to be crucified. His prayer focused not only on his disciples, but also on all those who would come to saving faith through His death and resurrection. So the beauty of this prayer is that Jesus was praying for us.

Jesus prayed, I don’t ask that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. Score one for engage.

Jesus is quick to clarify that we are not OF the world. World in this case is not referring to planet earth, but a term describing humanity in its fallen state and rebellion against God. Jesus then gives the secret to making our engagement with the world successful, and it is this; God’s sanctifying truth. He says, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

And there you have it. Our personal sanctification, that is, the power of God’s Holy Spirit reshaping our will to His, and conforming us to the image of Christ, even as we live in an amoral and increasingly Godless culture, will ultimately win the day. People will not be able to escape the fact that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. But we must be friends with unsaved people in order for them experience the difference in our lives. Otherwise, aren’t we just talking to ourselves?

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6