How do you know when to postpone or even cancel your church (or synagogue) picnic? You might check weather.com or look at Farmers’ Almanac or notice a twinge in your shoulder that a bad storm is on its way.
I’ve recently been looking at the topic of loving God with our minds in preparation for speaking at Emmaus Bible College’s “Christian Ministry Seminars” on February 6-7. My theme is (was) “Anti-Intellectualism Isn’t Spirituality.” By the time you read this, the conference will have taken place.
But I digress. Jesus Christ, the 2nd Person of the Trinity, is our model in loving God with our minds. He commanded faith “like a child” not childish faith. And on the matter of weather, notice what He says in Matthew 16:
He says that you Pharisees and Sadducees use your cognitive powers to observe the sky and draw certain conclusions. He does not challenge them to simply flip a coin, but to use their minds to come to specific decisions.
He says you know how to make prognostications about the weather, but are unable (or unwilling) to objectively look at the evidence for His Messiahship and come to the appropriate conclusion.
Jesus reminds them that man’s sinfulness has affected his mental ability. “A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign,” He says. Man’s fallenness has impacted his God-given skill of drawing rational conclusions. Wickedness and spiritual adultery affect one’s intellectual process.
Rather than giving the Pharisees and Sadducees a sign (although He does predict His own resurrection), He gives them a brief sermon on how their sin inhibits their ability to love God with their minds and affirm His as the Promised Messiah. Such mental short-circuiting affects people today. But we should still look for ways to appeal to them on an intellectual basis. And that’s part of what it means to love God with our minds! (to be continued)