Loving God with All Your Mind
Dr. Bill Mounce
Of all the 613 Mosaic commands, of all the things we can do today and tomorrow, the most important is to love God (Mark 12:29–30).
There are many things about this that we can understand.
- Love is deeply emotional and motivates us to obey; they are not the same thing but one is the basis for the other.
- We are to love the person of God and not just his blessings. We love forgiveness, protection, guidance, and his Word, but none of these are the same as loving God.
- And we love him with everything we are: heart, soul, mind, and strength. It is a good thing that God does not demand immediate perfection, but as long as we are on a trajectory of loving him more today than we did yesterday, he is glad.
But what does it mean to love God with all our “mind”?
While we are emotional beings and so can somewhat understand what it means to love with our hearts, we are also intellectual beings and are called to love God with the rational part of our being. But how do you do that?
The unfortunate truth is that many people are intellectually lazy, treating the mind as if it were only meant for telling our heart to beat, our lungs to breathe, and our hands to work the TV remote.
But here is the truth: if you do not train your mind to love God, it will love something else.
Granted, there are the hidden things of God, things that we will never be able to understand nor need to understand. Can anyone understand eternity past much less eternity future? Can we really grasp the fact that an infinite being loves finite creatures? Do we understand the incarnation or the Trinity? No.
However, I am thankful I don’t have to put my mind on the shelf in order to be a Christian, and I am thankful that we can learn to love God with all the rational capabilities he has given us.
One of the taglines the BiblicalTraining.org’s staff throws around is, “For an informed love of God.” For love to reach its fullness, it has to include the mind. Otherwise, it is just silly sentimentalism. If we really want to “be like Jesus,” then we have to train our minds to know what Jesus was like. What did he do? What did he say? How did the apostles understand him and explain him to the early church? How has the church understood him throughout the centuries? If we don’t know, we are bound to make the same mistakes. How do we take all the different things Jesus said and weave them into a consistent understanding (the role of theology)?
Most of us need help to do this, and that is why we created BiblicalTraining.org. The vast majority of the world’s population has no access to the best biblical teachers in the world because they are locked up behind their schools’ paywalls. But we are all members of the same body, and all the members should benefit from the resources of the body. This includes not only essentials like food and clothing, but it should also include education.
I will be writing much more on this topic in the months to come, but the starting point is to recognize that we are rational beings, and Jesus calls us to love him with our minds, to learn to think like him.
Because when we think like him, we will act like him, and become more and more like him.
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