Best of Daily Reflections: Loving God with Your Mind
“And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.”
In the days before his crucifixion, Jesus was in the courts of the Temple in Jerusalem, teaching the people. One of the Jewish religious teachers asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” (12:28). This kind of question was common among Jewish theologians, and Jesus seemed ready to answer it. He did so, at first, by quoting a passage from the book of Deuteronomy, one of the most well-known biblical passages among the Jewish people. “The most important commandment is this,” Jesus said, " 'Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength' " (12:29-30).
If you were to look up the Old Testament original for this text, you’d find that the word “mind” does not show up in Deuteronomy 6:4-5. It’s possible that Jesus added the word “mind” to his paraphrase of this passage. It’s more likely that different versions of the so-called Shema (the Hebrew imperative meaning “Listen!”) circulated in Jewish oral tradition. No matter the source of the word “mind,” the main point was that what had been implicit in the Hebrew word “heart” was made explicit by the addition of the word “mind” (dianoia in Greek). We are to love God with all that we are, including our thinking. Loving God fully includes not just obedience in body, commitment in will, and passion in feeling, but also thinking in a way that honors God.
How can we do this? How can we love the Lord with our minds? This begins, I would suggest, with choosing to think about God. As we focus our thoughts upon the Lord, considering his character and remembering his awesome works, we start to love God with our minds. This exercise of worship is based on the reading and study of Scripture. We know God truly through his Word. These Daily Reflections are, in fact, written to help you love God with your mind by directing your attention to Scripture and inviting you to meditate upon its truth. The point is not simply that you would know more about God and his ways, however important this might be. Rather, these Reflections are meant to encourage you in your thoughtful love for God, so that you might then love him more fully with all that you are.
When we love God with our minds by thinking rightly about him and reflecting on his nature, we are enabled to love him in the way we think about all things. The way we think about everything in life can be an act of worship if we offer our minds to God and learn to think in his ways. Thus we can love God with our minds, not only when specifically reflecting on him, but also in every arena of life.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Do you love the Lord with your mind? How? What does this mean to you? How might you grow in your ability to love God in your thinking?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, you have called me to love you with all that I am . . . heart, soul, mind, and strength. Today I’m reminded especially of the opportunity I have to love you in my thinking.
O Lord, may I take time to think about you, to consider your attributes, to celebrate your deeds, to meditate upon your love. May my study of Scripture be a door into deeper devotion to you. May your truth shape my thoughts and even how I think.
Help me, by your Spirit, to love you in my thinking, not only when I’m focused on you, but in all of my thoughts, decisions, and dreams. May I worship you with my mind in every part of my life.
All praise be to you, O God, because you are worthy of all my love. Amen.
Building a Platform
The idea of building a platform has become a popular way of talking about about marketing. What does that look like, when you're leading from the soul? So many of us cringe at the word "platform." How can we reframe the whole idea so it makes sense and plays a positive role in the Kingdom of God? What is the right perspective? Can building a platform and building the Kingdom of God co-exist? In this series, Building a Platform, we take a look at what it looks like to embrace marketing while leading from the soul and, at the same time, faithfully stewarding roles, responsibilities, and resources to impact the Kingdom of God.