As we look at this essential to biblical worship, I want to use Jesus’ words from Matthew 22:37 as the basis. In Matthew 22:34-38, we see that the Pharisees are questioning Jesus, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” Jesus doesn’t hesitate in His answer, quoting Deuteronomy 6:5, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment.”
Notice that Jesus says we’re to love God with all of our mind. This is God’s desire for us. God gave you a mind, and He meant for you to use its full capacity to worship Him. Therefore, biblical worship is mind-provoking.
Unfortunately, a pervasive mindlessness seems to be rising in the church. There has crept into evangelical Christianity, of which we Southern Baptists are a part, this deadening desire to downplay the mind when it comes from God and the things of God. Deep thinking on God is seen as detrimental to the Christian life such that knucklehead preachers say “cemetery” instead of “seminary” in an attempt to be cute. Ever heard that? Yeah, not cute. Many simply want that emotional charge and literally make fun of those who are thoughtful about God.
It’s like they think that dumb is divine. It’s like they believe that thinking deeply about God ruins our experience with God. Friend, there is a Greek word that perfectly captures what God thinks about this sort of mindset. It’s in the lexicon under the Greek letter beta, and is spelled B-O-L-O-G-N-A.
John Piper describes this sad situation this way and gives us encouragement to think deeply about God: “There is an odd notion that if we use our minds to grow in the knowledge of God mystery will diminish and with it wonder and reverence. I think that’s one of the oddest notions in the universe when you’re talking about an infinite God. No matter how many millions of ages I use my mind to know more of God’s majesty, his glories will never be in danger of being exhausted. Infinite is not subtracted from. Don’t worry that you will limit him if you know something about him. Don’t buy that insane popular notion that mystery goes down when knowledge goes up. That’s insane when you’re talking about an infinite God!” (from the audio recording found at https://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/conference-messages/the-life-of-the-mind-and-the-love-of-god).
Church, that means that we shouldn’t be afraid to pursue God with our minds. Why do we have to choose between the emotional charge and thoughtful depth? We don’t have to choose! When I attempt to comprehend all that God is through Jesus Christ, I can’t help but be full of joy and shouting and exuberance. Passionately pursue God with your mind!
May your worship be mind-provoking!
Links to previous posts in this series: