by Gloria Furman
I once read in some journals about how pregnancy hormones can affect a woman’s mental acuity. The surging hormones overwhelm and at times underwhelm her brain and affect short-term memory. Of course, I liked hearing that “Mom-nesia” is a real thing and not just all in my head. Or, was it?
When a lawyer tested Jesus and asked him to identify the greatest of God’s commands, Jesus answered: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (Matt. 22:37).
Mom-nesia or no, I’ve in my own life how loving God with all my mind is an oft-overlooked aspect of loving the Lord my God.
A few reasons for this oversight come to mind (pun not intended), and I’m sure there are more.
One reason we might neglect loving God with all our mind is because other things tend to make more of a racket. If our emotions are in disarray then it’s quite obvious to ourselves and to others. We also see this at play regarding loving God with all our strength. A brief inquiry into my own physical disciplines of waking, working, and resting I can clearly see where I have not loved God with all my strength.
Another reason we might neglect loving God with all our mind is that we seldom interact with accountability for this. One woman commented to me that she had been a Christian for fifteen years and not once had anyone ever asked her (and neither had she asked anyone else): “How is your mind these days? Tell me how you’re loving God with your mind.”
Perhaps these issues regarding the mental energy we exert toward loving God just don’t come to mind that often.
So, on that note, here are just a few encouragements from Scripture regarding loving God with our mind:
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled” (Titus 2:3-5).
- We need to be able to teach other women “what is good.” How do we know what God deems as good unless we’ve applied our minds to study it in God’s word?
“Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things” (1 Tim. 3:11).
- The attributes listed are quite ordinary. Being a woman of dignity, not a gossip-starter/spreader, being sober-minded and faithful– these qualities ought to mark every Christian woman, not just wives of men in church leadership. Loving God with your mind includes being “sober-minded”– the opposite of having your mind overrun by trivialities and controlled by intoxicating lies.
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Pet. 1:13-16).
- Loving God with your mind helps you set your hope fully on future grace. It helps avoid doling out shreds of hope in other things. Just as my mind has something to do with my attachment to false hopes, my mind has a big role in setting my hope fully on Jesus.
- The ESV Study Bible notes say that this first Greek phrase is “girding up the loins of your mind.” I don’t know about you, but I generally think of my mind as a couch-potato/sponge and not as a suited-up athlete! Having a ready mind guards against ignorance when it comes to God’s will and matters of holiness.
Hope and Help for the Distracted
No penance is adequate for failing to love God with your mind.
That’s why we rejoice that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is the only thing that makes propitiation for our sin! Jesus loved God with all his mind in ways that we couldn’t and wouldn’t because of our sinfulness, and Jesus’ righteousness is credited to us by faith.
Hebrews 2:17-18 tells us that the Son of God was made like us in every respect so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest on our behalf. Our Great High Priest is also able to help us when we’re tempted to let our minds wander back into ignorance of God’s commands. He can help us when we’re tempted to coddle lies and “blow them up” in our minds. Jesus is sympathetic to our tendency to give our minds over to banal trivialities and he is able to help us.
In the atonement Jesus made sufficient provision for the sins committed in our minds that would rather entertain the unholy than be fixed on him. He also sent the indwelling Holy Spirit to renew our minds through his word.
So when we are tempted to forget about loving the Lord with all our mind, the Spirit enables us to call to mind God’s steadfast love, his never-ending mercies, and his great faithfulness. These things remind us that the Lord is indeed our portion.
Because of Christ we are free to love God with all our mind and to set our hope fully on him!
ABOUT THE WRITER
Gloria (@gloriafurman) is mostly from Texas. In 2008 she moved to the Middle East with her husband Dave to plant Redeemer Church of Dubai. They have three fun kiddos and Gloria enjoys serving the ladies in her community as a doula. Gloria is the author of Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home (Crossway 2013).