Loving God with Our Minds
By Maria Fontaine
Jesus said that we are to love God “with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind.” (Matthew 22:37) Notice that He didn’t just refer to our heart and soul, but also to our mind. God gave human beings mental faculties. He created us to be intellectual beings, capable of rational thought, intellectual growth, critical thinking, and reasoning. He also gave us a conscience to guide us in making choices that are morally right.
The apostle Paul said, “One person considers some days to be more sacred than others, while another person considers all days to be the same. Each person must have their own convictions.” (Romans 14:5 CEB) Paul also said in that same discourse, “If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.” (Romans 14:23 NLT) The point he was making is that it’s important we each explore our beliefs to determine where our faith lies on various issues. Analyzing, discussing, and debating points of doctrine can be healthy for your faith, as those all require you to research, dig deep, and find the scriptural foundation for your beliefs.
Using our mental faculties and critical, rational thinking is not meant to undermine our faith, of course, but it can. Some people do reason themselves out of their faith. But for others, critical, rational thinking serves to strengthen their faith. It depends on how the person goes about the questioning process. Paul, Saint Augustine, Martin Luther, C. S. Lewis, and many other great Christian thinkers used reasoning and logic to strengthen their and others’ faith and understanding of doctrine, as well as to help shape the faith and intellectual viewpoints of Christianity.
We can use our intellectual abilities to glorify God and to affirm our faith, just as we can use any of the other skills and talents He has given us. We can use our minds to better love God, as Jesus told us to do. We can also use our intellectual abilities to find the place He has for us in this world, to further our education and understanding of the world, and more. As is the case with all gifts from His hand, He expects us to use the mental abilities He has given us, to invest them wisely, and to allow them to benefit ourselves and others.
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