A tween girls’ talk given 3/30/2019
I learned to love God with my mind in two ways, one focusing inward, and the other focusing out:
- Focusing my mental attention on God and trusting Him to give me wisdom
- Exercising my mind by searching for truth and asking good questions
And we’re going to start by talking about #2 first, the outward expression of loving God with my mind:
One of the first values that my parents successfully impressed upon me (other than love for Jesus) was the importance of the search for truth. In fact, to them, an intellectual life of exercising your mind in the search for what is true should grow out of your love for Jesus and an understanding that *HE* is the Truth. So we shouldn’t be afraid to look at the real state of things because a holistic look at what is true in the world around us will only reveal the Truth of God’s Word and work in the world.
My parents regularly admonished my sisters and me to read a chapter of Proverbs a day, and from that regular reading one of my favorite verses emerged:
It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.
Proverbs 25:2 ESV
Now some information about my family: my mother and her two sisters and my two younger sisters and myself are named after biblical or more recent historical queens so, I definitely fancied myself a royal in the making, and had no problem applying this verse to myself. Put in the context of other verses about Believers reigning with Jesus, to me Proverbs 25:2 was saying that God has created mysteries, and secrets, and enigmas that He actually wants us to apply ourselves to discovering and understanding. Mysteries about Himself and the world that He’s created that He invites us to struggle to understand and then share that understanding with others.
I would say that my earnest search for truth really began in college when I started encountering other people’s beliefs about God and the world. In an honest search for truth, I had to give those beliefs a fair shake, by listening to what teachers, students, and the people we were reading about had to say and asking good questions to determine if what they were saying was true. If you’re wondering what good questions are, it’s really simple, and you may have already heard of them:
|Who is speaking or being spoken about||What are they actually saying? (Not what I think they’re saying)||When were these things being said? What was happening at that time?||Where were these things being said? What was going on in that place?||What is the person’s motive in saying this? What or who are they responding to?||How is this argument being delivered? How might it be convincing?|
Sometimes we are afraid to ask good questions because we fear that honest answers to those questions will lead us away from God; I know that that was one of my fears. And this is where we come back to the #1 the inward way of loving God with our minds.
One of the biggest aspects of love is TRUST, and the Bible has a lot to say about how we can trust God with our minds. Just to go over a few verses:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. -6- In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. -7- Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. -8- It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
Proverbs 3:5-8 ESV
What enables us to trust God with our minds is filling our minds with Him. It seems kind of mysterious hmmm another enigma to exercise our minds in understanding? But when we fill our minds with the Word of God and purposefully spend time focusing our attention on Him, He speaks to us and gives us wisdom and understanding that we wouldn’t otherwise have. The more time I spent reading the Bible and talking with God and talking with other people about God, the more I was able to faithfully ask those good hard questions without fear. The more time I spent just thinking about who God is, and focusing the good questions on the Bible itself, the more God revealed to me and gave me good answers for when people asked me those same good hard questions. Trusting God with our minds means believing that He will answer our questions. And the funny part is that He has promised just that. Proverbs 2:1-8 says
My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, -2- making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; -3- yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, -4- if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, -5- then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. -6- For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; -7- he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, -8- guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.
Proverbs 1:20-33 says:
Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; -21- at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: -22- “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? -23- If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you.
James 1:5-8 says
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. -6- But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. -7- For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; -8- he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
And I think when we’re afraid of asking good questions, we are afraid of becoming that double-minded, easily swayed person. But you don’t avoid that by avoiding good questions, by avoiding exercising our minds. According to this verse, we avoid become double-minding by fully trusting that God will give us wisdom in the face of those questions and then actively seeking Him for that wisdom.
So what does loving God with our minds look like?
- Focusing our mental attention on Him and trusting Him to give us wisdom
- Exercising our minds searching for truth and asking good questions.
Small group/Journaling questions
- What is ONE topic that you want to use your mind to explore more deeply? What things do you already have good questions about?
- Have you asked God for His wisdom on that topic? You can do that now! Pray for each other or write it down as a prayer in your journal
- Psalms is a great book for helping us practice focusing our attention on God. My favorite Psalm to pray when asking for wisdom is in chapter 119 and it goes:Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things from your law. I am a stranger in the earth; do not hide your commandments from me!
Psalms 119:18-19 ESV