Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I've Been Thinking....

Uh-oh!  Watch out for flying debris!  It can be dangerous for me to start thinking!  But that's what I'm grateful for.  I'm thankful to have a brain to think with and a Lord who tells me to use it.

Jesus tells us "And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength" (Mark 12: 30 New Living Translation).


Now compare that to the Shema that Jesus is basing that on. "And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength" (Deuteronomy 6: 5 NLT).

Jesus adds that we must love the Lord our God with all our mind!  To love with all heart, soul, and strength, while wonderful and important, it is still to follow blindly.  To be spoon fed.  To not think for yourself or reason for yourself what you're getting into or to consider who or what you're worshiping.

It's risky for Jesus to tell us to also love the Lord our God with all our mind because that means we are to truly "count the cost" of discipleship.  That means we can bring our questions, doubts, fears, etc, to God without fear of him zapping us with a lightning bolt as punishment for our impunity.  That means we continue to grow in faith because we do have this freedom to come to God and reason together instead of stagnating because we have to take what is given without question.  It can also mean that sometimes we run into places where we honestly think the church has "it" (whatever the "it" is) wrong.


That's what led to the Protestant Reformation.  Martin Luther and a couple others believed the Church had "it" wrong on some key doctrines.  They loved the Lord our God with all their minds, which led to them thinking and reasoning.  Dangerous!  It's what led to John Wesley's attempt to reform the Church of England, which led to the Methodist Movement.  It's probably behind every major split in every denomination: thinking & reasoning on Scripture because we are commanded, by Jesus, to love the Lord our God with all our mind!


Does the Church universal and Methodism, in particular, have "it" all right today?  No, and we never will...not on this side of heaven anyway.  I don't have "it" all right, either.  I get much wrong.  But because I love the Lord my God with all my mind, I can keep coming to him in prayer and encountering him in his Living Word and think and reason.  I'm an analytical person, so I thoroughly LOVE being able, no, TOLD, to do this!


And God's big enough and sufficient enough and his grace is more than enough to handle my small thoughts.  My thoughts are not his thoughts anymore than my ways are his ways.  They're getting closer to his, but they'll never complete the journey.  He will always be God and I will always never be God.


And I am grateful.