NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday, July 9th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. How can we climb out of spiritual bankruptcy?
Andrée Seu Peterson now on loving God.
ANDRÉE SEU PETERSON, COMMENTATOR: Joseph found his betrothed to be with child — and not by him. Matthew 1:19 records: “Being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, [he] resolved to divorce her quietly” rather than throw the book at her.
Small step for a man; big leap for mankind. Here was a thinker, a grappler, who wrestled within the parameters of righteousness and found one way more excellent than another.
Father Abraham, there was another thinker. He “considered his own body, which was as good as dead.” Then he thought about the promise of God, “that he should become the father of many nations.” Then he thought about God’s track record for keeping His word. And he emerged from that mental exercise with firm resolution to trust in God (Romans 4).
Luke 2:19 tells us Mary “pondered.” Daniel 8:15 tells us Daniel “sought to understand.” None of these people thought it a fleshly usurpation of the Holy Spirit’s role to engage their faculty of reason. They knew the Lord was in the process.
If the Pharisees had known what it meant to love the Lord “with all your mind” (Mark 12:30) and not to reduce righteousness to rote rules, they might have understood why mercy is better than sacrifice; and why money donated to the temple does not absolve you of obligation to your parents; and why people hanging out with Jesus don’t want to fast.
I have sometimes wished the Christian life were a mindless to-do list of rules:
- Today, call your mother.
- Increase your tithe by $20.
- Send Calvin to Philmont Christian Academy.
- Read this book, not that book.
I would gladly comply with that kind of piety. That’s easy. That’s lazy. But relationship with your Lord calls for the engagement of “all your mind.”
How would you like it, after all, if your husband had your anniversary date and Valentine’s Day on his calendar notification on his cell phone so that he didn’t have to bother to remember it on his own. You wouldn’t. God doesn’t either. He wants our mind more than our perfunctory compliance.
They say we use just a fraction of our minds. Who knows. But when something is bugging me, vaguely, like a pebble in a shoe, I’m pretty sure God wants me to take time to examine it, get to the root of it, and deal with it in the light of his commands and promises. The unjust steward in Luke 16 found himself in deep trouble and, to his credit, didn’t just sulk but brainstormed. Jesus commended him.
Loving God with “all your mind,” if you are not accustomed to it, is challenging at first. Many of us are used to just dealing with the top two inches of an issue, not excavating the underlying layers. But as for me, I want to be an imitator of Joseph, and Abraham, and Daniel. And of all that cloud of witnesses who dig deep, and go where no carnal man has ever gone.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Andrée Seu Peterson.