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Loving God: Mind and Strength
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor
Overview: When asked to name the most important commandment, Jesus replied that loving God and loving others sums up all other commandments. In terms of loving God, Jesus stated that we are to love God with our heart and soul, mind, and strength. His response calls for us to love God with our entire being, yet it also includes specific elements of the human composition—we love God from the heart and with the mind, using the strength that God has given us. By connecting heart and mind in our discipleship, Jesus affirms the proper relationship between faith and knowledge; the particular role that faith adds to knowledge; and the potential realized through our faithful application of knowledge. This call to love the Lord with head and heart is a most proper response to the God who has revealed Himself in Scripture and has entered the world to save us from our sins.
01. Loving God with our mind will result in different levels of learning, but it cannot result in mere intellectualism or unwelcome elitism.
02. Loving God with our mind will require intentionality in our discipleship. Thus, it may be assumed that we are connecting with other believers.
03. Loving God with our mind will create conflict with the unbelieving world, yet we can trust the Lord to use us in every sphere of life for His glory.
04. Loving God with our mind may become difficult with age or health issues, but the Lord will love us even when our heart and mind begin to fail.
Questions for Discussion & Discovery
1. In what way is the confession “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One” an intellectually superior statement regarding the nature of God coming as it did in the midst of a polytheistic culture? How did Israel come to the knowledge that God is one, not many? What does this conclusion suggest about the importance of God revealing Himself when it comes to true knowledge?
2. What is the proper relationship between faith and knowledge? How is the Christian faith based on facts? Which of the following statements is most correct: (1) Faith is belief in the absence of evidence, or (2) Faith is belief based on where the evidence leads. Is the resurrection of Jesus, for example, a belief Christians hold without evidence, or is it a belief Christians hold because of where the evidence leads?
3. How does faith contribute to character formation with respect to knowledge? How does our knowledge of the greatness of God contribute to humility before God? See Romans 11:33-36 for further insight.
4. Paul states that the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4). How does the Christian proclamation of God’s Word break down barriers, including intellectual barriers, to the gospel? How does apologetics provide an important avenue for addressing concerns and questions from unbelievers? What questions from unbelievers are you most interested in addressing?
5. Are you concerned that your mind may fail as you grow older, thus preventing you from loving God with your mind and strength? What promises from Scripture can you find that help resolve this fear? See Psalms 40, 42, and 73 for additional insight.
For Further Reading: David Dockery, ed. Faith and Learning: A Handbook for Christian Higher Education (B&H Academic, 2012).