Friday, November 8, 2013

The Life of the Mind

To think or not to think, that is the question! Research shows that the amount of time that someone spends making a choice affects what kind of information they use to make that choice. What implications does this have for the Christian life? How much time do we spend making our decisions? Where do you go to get your information when you are making life's decisions?

A driving goal for educators is to cultivate a natural level of inquiry. So for the child of God, do we have the desire to go to the source book for our information? The process of gathering information is one step in the process, but the next step is the process of thinking.

I'd like to look at the process of thinking assuming that you already went to God's inspired and inerrant word to get your information. Let me also add that  there are many other sources of spiritual advice that the believer can make available to himself: commentaries, topical books, Christian seminars, advice from other Christians etc.

It is not enough just to read our Bibles. We must think and think hard. We must ask penetrating questions and allow the Bible to answer those questions for us. The cultivation of the mind is hard work. The Apostle Paul urges Timothy to "think carefully, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything" (2 Tim. 2:7).

I didn't do a count on how many times the bible uses the words thinking or mind, but from a quick glance it seems that there are many  passages that deal with our minds and how we think. One of the most well known texts of Scripures is Philippians 4:8... Paul urges his listeners to "think about certain things..." this is how the Christian mind is cultivated...through hard and intentional thinking.

Paul then urges his readers in Romans 12:2  to be transformed by the "renewing of their minds;" and the results would be that they could  then discern what is the will of God, and what is good and acceptable and perfect. This process of thinking and having our thinking influenced by the wisdom and mind of God is the most richest treasure that we have as believers...John Piper tells us that "thinking is indispensable on the path to passion for God."

So believers, we are to love God with all our minds. We must be intentional in allowing God's truths to go deep inside of us and make us alive. We are to be "set on fire" by the pure truth of God's word.

My concern is that for too long the church has been ambivalent about the life of the mind. I personally lament the lack of thinkers in our evangelical culture. We need deep thinkers. We need Christians who can articulate a Christian worldview with passion and integrity.

Application: Start a plan where you do more than just read and parrot information. Write out thoughts. Write out your understanding of a text or biblical idea as if you had to convince a class of non-believers. Keep a journal of important truths that hit home or where God was speaking to you through a particular text. Cultivate your mind for the Glory of the King.

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