Loving God and people with our minds.

Love God with your mind?  Yeah, it does seem to make our faith a bit too cerebral.  But it is undeniable that Scripture teaches there is a tie between our minds and our hearts (Phil. 4:8, for example).

Much of our spiritual formation tends to focus on our passions ("Love" God) or our behaviours ("be holy") while our inner thought-life is relegated to a secondary role.  It is private.  Just between God and me.  But nurturing the habit of loving God with our minds is not just guarding against sinful thoughts.  It is also about building skills in discernment and building perspective.  There are a lot of social voices clamouring for our attention.  Loving God with our minds equips us to "take the best and leave the rest."  It provides filters to separate truth from error.

Certainly "loving God with our minds" is not a call to intellectualize our faith (smart people only, please!).  Reconciliation to God is not dependent on our I.Q.  Just as we are volitional, emotional, and social beings, we are also intellectual beings - so how do we love God - and others - with our minds?

Both the Old and New Testaments share this focus:  to have knowledge of God.  It is the theme of Ezekiel ("then you will know I am the LORD") and is encouraged by Peter ("grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ").  In both cases the "knowledge" is not about systematic theology.  It IS about learning the nature and character of God and enjoying our relationship with Him.  How does that help me love others?

As God's image-bearers, we represent the Creator in His creation and steward the resources of the King in His Kingdom.  The two greatest resources are the Gospel (knowledge of God and how to be reconciled to Him) and people.  That's the point of the story of Cain and Abel.  The answer to Cain's rhetorical question, "Am I my brother's keeper" is a resounding, "YES!"  Moses tells that story to not simply document the first murder but to illustrate the depths to which loving God must impact us.  We become skilled at being our brother's (or sister's) "keeper."

Loving God with our minds means we continually learn who our God is, what He is like, and to nurture within each of us His passion for what He created.  That doesn't mean we can solve every problem.  It does mean we are always seeking to model the same kind of compassion, forgiveness, and respect that Jesus did for the woman at the well (John 4:7-30) or the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11 . . . where was the guy in that story. . . seems suspiciously like a set-up to me).

Loving God with our minds means we pursue truth.  It may be cognitive truth (i.e., about facts, right vs. wrong, etc.), or it may be relational truth (loving people, respecting them, valuing them no matter what), volitional truth (making wise choices), or emotional truth (curating the passions of our heart that place priority on the Kingdom of God).  That is broader than reducing God to a structure of systematic theology.  How can love without action - without change - truly be love?

Together, let's look for opportunities to love God with our minds.  Let's engage in new opportunities and relationships, and find His truth (relational, emotional, volitional and cognitive) in unexpected places.  Suddenly we may find ourselves whispering to Him, "I was just thinking about You!"

Graham Bulmer
Lead Pastor
Graham and Sharon Bulmer bring many years of pastoral, teaching, leadership development and administrative experience to the Q50 Community Church plant. They served in Latin America as missionaries for almost 15 years, and have pastored here in Canada.