Saturday, January 17, 2015

How to inherit eternal life, part 8: loving God with all your mind

And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?" And he answered, "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." And He said to him, "You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE." (Luke 10:25-28 NASB)

We are continuing our study on how to inherit eternal life by loving God. In previous posts, we looked at how to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our strengthToday, we look at how to love God with all our mind. (You can click on the links to open a new window and review those posts.) 

The word translated as "mind" is dianoia". This is a profound word that we, in the body of Christ, need to embrace. Dianoia is literally a "thinking through". To love God with our mind, then, is to spend time pondering, reflecting on Him and on His Word. To do this, we must know His Word by studying it and "thinking it through" so that we understand it and its implications for our life. This love by dianoia involves knowing Him and meditating on His attributes.

It may be that loving God with all our mind, dianoia, is critical for loving God with all our heart, soul, and strength. When we make the effort to know Who God is, we have a better understanding of this One we serve. Understanding the majesty and might of our God should bring us to a position of humility and love before Him. When we love Him with our mind, studying His Word to know what He expects of us and the relationship He offers us, it should change our life. 

We use our minds to "think through" this life of faith, and it is with our minds that we make the choice to follow Him. If we truly understand something of our relationship to our loving heavenly Father, we must desire to please Him, honor Him, and obey Him, for knowing God must bring us to loving Him. It is only through dianoia that we gain this knowledge. 

To review, the initial question was "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" When Jesus asked the lawyer how he understood the law, he replied, "Love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind, and your neighbor as yourself." Jesus replied, "You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live." Inheriting eternal life involves "doing". It is not the doing of walking down an aisle, being baptized, or filling out a commitment card that brings us eternal life. All of those acts may be a part of our walk of obedience, but it is the "doing" of loving God that brings eternal life, and it is accomplished through relationship with our triune God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 

Loving God, then, begins with dianoia, this thinking through so that we have understanding. It is a "thinking through with results", rather than a pointless, pie-in-the-sky pondering. Dianoia requires that our pondering have change as its objective, so that we might understand God better and live in ways that please Him more. It requires that we be still and learn to know our God. Loving with our mind is the way we begin to love Him with every fiber of our being because it is the way we learn to know the God we love. 

Selah. Pause and consider.

Then, dear ones, love Him with dianoia.
There is much to learn of faith and following from the story of Jairus, who trusted Jesus for the life of his daughter when it seemed that all hope was gone. The story is examined with dianoia in The Waiting: When the Answer to Your Prayer is Delayed and Your Hope is Gone, and is available here. Also available in Tupelo at Joyful Creations and Park Place Salon.