Friday, March 23, 2012
MIND vs HEART
As my studies in Matthew, James and Hebrews slam together on the subject of behavior, I tremble some over the times I totally lack such behavior and go off in my old ways. Matthew 18 speaks to the results of not loving our brother or sister as the Lord has asked us to do. James reminds us how to go about living out that love for each other, while Hebrews demonstrates the power of simple faith to guide us in doing what God wants done. And, actually, in the sense of cohesiveness that is God’s Word, they all say he same thing: Be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only.
They also all stress the power and need for God’s Word in our hearts in order to accomplish anything for Him and in His name. And that brings me to this Quote:
For the soul of a person to be inflamed with passion for the living God, that person's mind must first be informed about the character and will of God. There can be nothing in the heart that is not first in the mind. Though it is possible to have theology on the head without its piercing the soul, it cannot pierce the soul without first being grasped by the mind. - R.C. Sproul
This really challenges me for many reasons, not the least of which is that during my first 20 years of “service to God” I was a doer who had not really listened. I went to Bible College, I studied books, I participated in all the services, sang in the choir, taught Sunday school and other children’s and Youth opportunities and even applied to a Missions Board to serve in home missions. But I did not let any of it penetrate my heart. Disaster followed.
And, then there is knowing what God has to say about what is actually IN our heart: All sorts of evil! Has anyone ever had to teach a child to sin? To desire and demand things? To want the top spot with Mom and Dad in rivalry with their siblings? To be selfish? Consider the apostles: They finally asked the big question in Matt 18. “Who will be first and sit at your right hand?” Where did that come from? From their hearts.
So it isn’t that there is nothing in our hearts. It is that there is nothing good in our hearts. It is that we need to set about deliberately filling our mind with good and then letting that good penetrate and settle into our heart, replacing the habitual thoughts and actions of a sinful heart.
Let’s face it: To be doers of the Word we have to actually know what the Word says and then we have to be watchful of everything we do, remembering that the Word is going to be there with and in us when we do it. Meditate day and night – Psalm 119 We must not cloister ourselves and become useless, but we must know the Word and keep Him in mind with every choice we make. That’s what this says to me. Keep the Word in your heart not just in your mind. Seek Wisdom in understanding it and obeying it. Use it regularly as a tool for making decisions. Doing is what helps learning to penetrate our hearts. As rough as James seems to sound, I think that is really his main point.
I know that one of the steel beams of learning is doing, whether it’s math and science or Bible lessons. Imagine if education was just one long lecture that numbed our minds and never penetrated our sense of self, our hearts. We would be absolutely nonfunctional. We must practice what we learn and we must let it effect the way we live and serve. Then we and others will know that God is real in us.
May we yearn to be functional as children and servants of God, letting Him guide us everyday in everyway, so that we can grow in wisdom and faith.