When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus responded that it is to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind (Luke 10:27). It seems easy to think about the heart, as it relates to love. Hearts, as a universal symbol of love, can be found plastered on almost every Valentine’s Day card. Talk of the soul also comes up frequently when expressing love. A young man may describe his wife as his “soulmate.” However, it can be difficult for us as humans to think about loving someone with our minds, even more so, loving God with our minds.
An eternal change of mind
The desire to love God with our minds is not something that comes naturally for mankind. In fact, the Scriptures make clear that before God saves us, we are in rebellion against God (Colossians 1:21) and our minds are blurred by sin. Therefore, any thought or act of love towards Him is the supernatural work of God, not simply a decision we make on our own.
When God regenerates the mind of the sinner, this brings about an enormous change of mind (Romans 12:2, Philippians 4:8). Once we wanted to have nothing to do with God, our minds were darkened and our thinking futile (Romans 1:21, Ephesians 4:18). But now we desire nothing less than to know Him more for all eternity. We want to use our minds to know God, to memorize his great deeds, to develop a worldview based on His Word.
When discussing the biblical command to love God with the mind, it is helpful to closely examine the life of the man who loved the Father perfectly with all His mind – Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Believers, who have the mind of Christ, must follow in His mental footsteps (1 Peter 2:21). It is foolish to think that we can know what it means to love God with our minds apart from Jesus’ example revealed to us in the Word of God.
Our minds need God’s grace
Obviously, we know that we do not love God as perfectly with our minds as Jesus did. There is a constant struggle taking place within our minds between the flesh and the Spirit (Romans 8:5-9). Furthermore, we are not totally free from the effects of sin on our minds on this side of heaven. We are prone to forget things, to become confused, and misunderstand. The reality is that our minds cannot fully comprehend just how distorted our thinking is because of sin.
While our minds may be marred by sin, God shows us tremendous patience. Between our sinful thoughts, wrong decisions, and evil plans, God has every reason to strike down, but He doesn’t. Instead, He shows us grace and mercy (Psalm 145:8). God loves the mind that acknowledges its perpetual need for grace. Our sin may cause us to forget many things, but it also reminds us, as Christians, that we are completely helpless without God.
Mind your head!
In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus gives us the sobering picture of people who did things is His name, yet He never knew them. These words give us reason to pause and think hard about where we stand before God. We cannot love someone we do not know, neither can we love a God we do not know.
Loving God with our minds involves being painfully honest with ourselves (Psalm 26:2). We must also surrender our minds to the leading and teaching of the Holy Spirit. In doing so, we will become abundantly more aware of the depth of God’s love for us. This is the mind that we strive for daily, because it is not only a mind that loves God, but also the mind that God loves.
What kind of struggles do you experience in your life between heart, soul and mind? How do you ‘fight’ against temptations? And in which ways can you serve God with your mind?