Mind and Heart

Which is more important for the christian: the mind, or the heart?

Some argue that it is important to have a rational faith: well-thought out, consistent, and logical. The embarrassment of being unable to explain their faith makes some people determined to have a faith which stands the academic tests which might be thrown at it, and which is able to think as God thinks, to act out of a well-reasoned consideration of christian principles.

On the other side, some consider it more important to have one’s heart in tune with God - to be sold out to discovering and doing what God would have them do, whether it seems logical or not. In place of an academic approach, a passionate commitment to doing God’s work is the basis of life and action.

The words of scripture remind us of the importance of both: The greatest commandment is this: “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)

We are to bring our whole being to God in faith: our passionate heart (Christianity is more than a theological treatise), our intellect (Christianity requires that we think through the implications of faith), along with our strength (the commitment and energy to put it into practice), and our emotion. We are often more prone to one particular aspect, and to devalue other important facets of faith.

The words of the prophet Isaiah provide sobering caution in our time when intellect is valued more than passion: The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men." (29:13)

May our hearts be in tune with God’s heart, our minds be committed to understanding His ways, and our strength be given in His service.

June 15, 1997
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