Thursday, March 20, 2014

Worshipfully Mind-Stretching Truth

Don't empty your mind...stretch it!
I was recently reading a blog post by David Mathis on the hypostatic union and he described the concept as "worshipfully mind-stretching." This phrase immediately jumped off the computer screen to me! It pretty much spoke my love language. Loving God with all of our hearts is something Christians talk about frequently. But there is also something deeply powerful about loving God with our minds (Matt 22:37). Pondering and meditating on God's Word not only allows us to be transformed by the renewal of our minds (Rom 12:2), but also to delight in the cognitive grasp of who God is. This is a form of worship.

We usually equate the singing of praises to God with the act of worship. There are certainly countless examples in Scripture of believers and angels worshiping God through song. We are to "make a joyful noise to the Lord" and to "come into His presence with singing!" (Psalm 100:1-2). There is something profoundly celestial about members of the Body of Christ singing in unison. But when the act of glorifying God with our hearts and voices combines with worshiping Him with our minds, our worship-experience is all the more transcendentallike when we join our voices to sing the awe-inspiring, mind-stretching words of Charles Wesley’s “And Can It Be,” for example. Hymns like this that are deeply enriched with God's mind-renewing, heart-transforming truth are to be cherished.

Authentically worshipping God involves both humbling ourselves and proclaiming His greatness. And submerging ourselves in God's worshipfully mind-stretching truth is to glorify God with our minds because it is an inherently humbling experience. To contemplate the Trinity, for example, is mind-stretching to say the least! The Trinity, a mysterious and befuddling biblical truth, reflects the supernatural power and divine nature of a God who is beyond our conceptual grasp as human beings. The Trinity challenges us to accept God on His terms, rather than trying to fit Him into a box of our own cognitive construction. The Trinity takes control away from us in our all-about-me world, and gives all the glory to God. In other words, the Trinity prevents us from creating our own fictitious god and forces us to live by faith in a God who is bigger than we can understand. (I believe this is the reason for the many pride-fueled attacks on the doctrine of the Trinity). This is the opposite of touchy-feely faith that neglects the mind. 

To fully grasp the depth of God's soul-piercing, living and active Word is far beyond the mental capacity of our human minds. But, God has given us the ability to discern things about Him and His Word through “a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” and by enlightening the eyes of our hearts (Eph 1:17-18). This ability comes from Him, not from us. It's not theological training in and of itself that increases our ability to comprehend the Word of God or understand who He is. While theology plays an important role in helping us know God better, head-knowledge alone doesn't give us spiritual discernment. I have known atheists who can describe the gospel with perfect theological accuracy, for example. And even the demons believe in the one God! (Jas 2:19). But it is the Holy Spirit who gives us the ability to discern the Word of God through the enlightening, and renewal, of our minds and the transforming of our hearts.

To love and to worship God with our minds necessitates our humility and our acknowledgment of the futility of human wisdom. As Paul exhorts us, "Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, 'He catches the wise in their craftiness,' and again, 'The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.' So let no one boast in men." (1 Cor 3:18-21). Letting our minds be stretched by God-sized truths may seem like foolishness to the rest of the world (the world may even tell you to empty your mind, not stretch it!), but in actuality the philosophies of men are worthless
they are foolishness before an omnipotent and almighty God. 

Instead of worshiping the wisdom of earthly minds, we can rejoice in God's truth, echoing the words of the psalmist who exclaims, "How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!" (Psa 139:23-24). And delight ourselves in the "knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence" (2 Peter 1:3).

1 comment:

A. Maeve McDonald said...