Christians Must Cultivate Intellect

It is certainly sad when a Christian says, “I don’t read. I don’t know the Bible well, but I know God and that’s what matters.” Really? What god do you know then? If you want to know the God of the Bible, then you have to read the Word that He has given. If not, you are chasing the knowledge of an idol god, most likely one built in your image. I am not sure of the motivation behind such statements, and I do not want to assume I can understand the heart of another person, but it could be laziness, complacency, fear, inappropriate priorities, ignorance, idol worship, and so on. I pray the Spirit would shake His people from this mental stupor.

Not only are Christians to read the Word to know their God (Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:2, 119:15), since this is the only sure way to know Him, we are to take the knowledge of the Word of God and apply it to every area of our lives. This is certainly a lifelong pursuit and it involves the ever increasing of our intellect. 2 Corinthians 10:5 reads, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,” how is a Christian able to destroy lofty opinions raised against God if they do not know what God says? How is a Christian going to take every thought captive to the obedience in Christ if our minds are not formed by the Word of Christ?

I am not suggesting that each Christian has to become a world class scholar on the Bible, but I am suggesting that it is more important to know the Word of God over the rushing yards of your favorite NFL player in his college years. I am suggesting the knowledge of the Word of God trumps how Peter Jackson made the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, or attempting to decipher the philosophical and religious underpinnings of your favorite cerebral television show.

There are many reasons for Christians to be thinkers. Here are a few:

1) God gave you the ability to think, and He has always intended your thoughts to be used for His glory. This means we are to think His thoughts after Him bringing our mental capacities into obedience under Christ’s Lordship. The rule of the King is so pervasive and authoritative that Christians are obligated to bring their minds into submission to His commands. This impacts what television shows you watch, what books you read, how you shop, how late you stay up, how you speak, how much you eat and drink, why you mow the lawn, the frequency of prayer, and on and on.

2) Christians need to cultivate intellect because the Gospel is no longer assumed in our culture, and our culture is becoming increasingly hostile toward the Truth. Peter admonishes the churches, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” and how are we to do this if our minds are not increasing in the knowledge of the Gospel and our world? For example,this sentence should not confuse Christians: The secular worldview is by necessity atheistic.

3) The full expression of our humanity as image bearers of God requires the full engagement of our minds for the glory of God. Proper worship of God comes from understanding who God is, not merely how you feel about God. In other words, the mind of a Christian fuels the heart of a Christian in worship. Coming to worship the Lord on Sunday should not be bound to how you feel about God on that particular day, but rather what you know about God, that He is good, wise, holy, majestic, a lover of righteousness, a Father full of grace dispensing mercy, self-sacrificing, and a God who pursues His people. He is a good King and His status requires worship not waiting for our emotions to catch-up.

If you are interested in pursuing the necessity of thinking and the love of God I recommend Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God by John Piper. I read this book a couple years ago and it was the beginning of understanding the obligation of my mind to be used for God’s glory.

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