Love the Lord Your God with all Your Mind
We like to put a good deal of stock in what we know
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
and Jesus is reciting the opening words of The Shema, a prayer which devout Jews prayed.
Originally comprised of only , but later was added to from other Torah references.
So the Jews, especially the Jewish leaders knew this prayer like the back of their hand.
But it’s my understanding that they only prayed “Hear O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”
They did not pray the following part about loving the LORD your God. I’m sure that they knew it, however, because Luke’s account actually has the Jewish leader reciting the Shema rather than Jesus.
And he includes the part about loving God.
So not only did Jesus remind the Jewish leader about what came after the Shema, He also did something else.
Did anybody notice what Jesus included with His recitation that is not written in Deut. passage?
You shall love Him with all your mind.
If this doesn’t bring a question or two to your mind, I think it should. It does for me, anyway.
Why did Jesus add this phrase “with all your mind” to the Shema?
Why is this phrase significant?
Isn’t loving Him with all our heart, and soul (and strength in Mark) enough? Doesn’t that include everything?
I think these short 4 words are almost overlooked because we don’t understand them.
We say to our significant others, “I love you with all my heart”.
Or we express our relationship with our best friends as being “soulmates”. We think of Love happening in our heart and soul.
But what is all this about loving Him our mind? How do we do that? I thought that our relationship to JEsus was built on faith.
We never say, “Darling, I love you with all my mind.” It just doesn’t seem very romantic somehow.
I’d like to take a few minutes this morning and delve into this concept.
Why Did Jesus add to the Shema? Was He adding to the Law, which is contrary to How we understand God?
Didn’t he say, “Don’t add to the Words of this Book”?
Let me see if I can tackle this one without being too confusing.
First of all, the OT, where the Shema is written, is a foreshadowing of what was to come.
In our Anabaptist understanding of the Bible, we believe that everything points to Christ and we read the whole Bible through the eyes of Christ.
Everything in the OT was only a taste of something more to come.
Even prophecies which had fulfillment in the days of the prophets spoke of things to come.
Isaiah met King Ahaz next to the pool by the highway and talked with him about Syrians planning to attack him. And the Lord told Ahaz to ask for a sign. Ahaz wouldn’t do it. So God said, (ESV)
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
I believe that this was a sign to Ahaz and had fulfillment in his time.
But when the Angel came to Joseph, he told Joseph not to be afraid to take Mary as a wife because what was conceived in her was from the Holy Spirit.
21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us).
Fulfill—Not the only and absolute outcome to this prophecy.
Rather, fullfill= to fill up with meaning, a completion.
Jesus Himself told the Pharisees that the OT was really about Him.
In he said that they search the scriptures thinking that in them they have eternal life. But they were missing the fact that Moses was really writing about Christ.
Then on the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says in a number of places “You have heard it said…But I say unto you”
Jesus was not “adding to the law”, but rather filling it up with meaning
In a way He was saying, “The letter of the law is insufficient. It’s time to start thinking about the spirit of the law”
Is it possible that this is what is happening here?
By including the phrase “With all your mind”, Jesus is “filling up with meaning” what it means to Love God.
I think it’s highly probable.
2. But if that’s the case, what is the significance of this phrase? Why did He include it?
What does it mean to love God with all your mind?
I would like to submit something to you to think about it.
I think that everything starts in the mind. I know that this doesn’t sound very spiritual or full of faith, but I think it’s true.
Why do we send kids to school?
Why do we come to church and listen to preachers?
Why when someone has the wrong idea do we say “He should change his mind”?
Because we know that what is in our mind results in action or a change in action.
We know that what is in our minds controls what we do and the direction that our life takes.
When it comes to God let’s consider this:
Everything begins in the mind
What is in the mind captures the heart
What captures the heart results in worship
What results in worship results in mission.
This can be applied to anything.
When I was a kid, I thought about airplanes. I looked at pictures of airplanes in the encyclopedia. I would run outside and try to spot one if I heard one flying over.
The more I thought about airplanes, my heart began to be captured by them. When we moved to Canada, I got to experience them up and personally. I loved how they looked, how they sounded, how they smelled. I stood and gazed in awe as they soared off the lake and over the trees.
It’s difficult to say that I began to worship them, but I suppose in some way I did. The thought of flying a plane began to be elevated in my mind. It began to take priority.
And that worship moved me to mission. I decided to do something about it.
Many of you can apply this to experiences in your lives.
Everything begins in the mind
What is in the mind captures the heart
What captures the heart results in worship
What results in true worship leads to mission.
The Bible has a lot to say about our mind because God knows that what is in our mind controls how we live.
Now I’m not advocating filling our heads with knowledge simply for the sake of having knowledge
I’m not talking about being the smartest person in the room. I’ve never thought that I was smart. I never got the best grades in school.
When it comes to what’s in the mind, we are often worried about being exposed as being a fraud because someone will know more than us.
But this is not being smart or knowing a lot.
Loving God with all your mind is about being passionately devoted to the truth
It’s about a right understanding of God’s revelation and acting upon it.
But I think
Its about understanding rightly who God is, what He has said, and acting upon it, letting it lead us toward mission.
Unfortunately, I think that it is easy for us as believers to fall into apathy and we are scared about getting puffed up with pride.
1 Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up.
Paul was one of the most brilliant minds of the early church. What did he mean? He was arguing against arrogance. Against becoming proud because of what you know.
Paul was one of the most brilliant minds of the early church.
But I think in many cases, Christians have backed away from passionately pursuing the truth because it is seen as being haughty or resulting in pride.
But it’s doing damage to us and let me give you a few ways (JP Moreland, a Christian apologist and theologian)
Faith is seen as a blind act of the will.
Rather than resulting from a passionate pursuit of the truth, we just say, well, I don’t understand it. I guess it’s just the way it is.
We ask questions like “What does this mean to me?” rather than “What does this mean.” Everyone is allowed to interpret Scripture in a way that makes sense to them
We have a Sacred/Secular Dichotomy
Sunday is scared and should be treated as such. But everything else, our farming, our construction work, our office work, our recreation, etc, is sacred.
Even on Sunday, certain things are sacred (singing, preaching) while other things are secular (announcements, offering)
We have lost our understanding that as Believers, our whole lives should be about pleasing the Lord. (ESV) 31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
We send our kids off to universities or out into the world. And if they haven’t learned to think “Christianly”, if they don’t know that all that they do is sacred, the world chews them up and spits them back out.
31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Anti-intellectualism has resulted in weakened world missions
there are so many counterfeit “gospels” out there and these heresies weaken those who are sent and those to whom they are sent.
I see this dynamic at work in social media where Christians are chasing this theory and that theory all over the place.
We are becoming confused and fragmented. Why? Because we are not training our minds to pursue truth.
An Irrelevant Gospel
If it’s all about feelings, what about those who are out of touch with their feelings.
Paul in Acts and the epistles seems to believe that the Gospel is both true and reasonable to believe.
A lack of boldness in witness
If the Gospel is only subjective (about something vague that happens to me personally) and not objectively true for all, why bother?
But if the Gospel is true, and reasonably true, why would we not spread it?
We do we have to react against everything that comes along instead of coming across as thoughtful and articulate?
So what can we do?
Passionately pursue truth and wisdom
Train yourself to be godly
Be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may discern what the good and acceptable and perfect will of God is.
Maintain a posture of faith hope and love
Believe that the Holy Spirit is at work in you and that He can and will guide you and lead you to what is true.
Be willing to admit when you are wrong
Seek counsel from wise leaders and teachers.
Realize that God has put us together as a church in order that we can learn from one another
Know why you believe
Be able to defend why you practice as you do.
Ladies why do you wear a prayer veiling
Men, why have you registered as a c.o.?
Why don’t we recognize other faiths as being valid ways to God?
Embrace God-centeredness (this is the most important thing)
We don’t get transformed by simply feeling close to God. We are renewed by having our minds transformed.
We don’t become super intellectuals either. Rather, our minds are renewed and that is a work of the Holy Spirit.
The work of the Holy Spirit brings God-centeredness
God centeredness brings the mind of Christ Jesus
The mind of Christ Jesus brings a focus on others
To love the Lord our God wih all our minds is to have the mind of Christ Jesus (ESV) 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
(ESV) 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
“Let each of you look not “only” to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” ESV
It should read this way: “Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”
“We twentieth-century Christians don’t believe the Lord can deliver us from self interest, so we insert our assumptions into Scripture.” Dennis Kinlaw
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Folks, if there is anything that I want to leave with you today it’s this:
Let’s love God with all our minds by:
Let’s be passionate pursuers of the truth
Let’s be transformed by the Holy Spirit renewing our minds, renewing how we think
And let’s let that transformation make us less “us focused” and more God and others focused.