bits from bob....
Jesus said that we are to love our enemy as ourselves. Amazing! Difficult? Unbelievable! What is this kind of love? How do we love? What is love?
Jesus said the first great command is to love God with all our mind. How can we? Loving is an act of the mind and will more than an fact of the emotions and heart. Loving God with our minds is easily possible when we have the mind of Christ. Loving God with all our minds requires a secure and controlled mind, realistic consideration of the knowledge available to us, and making the choice for God.
Jesus said the second command was like the first, to love neighbor as self. This is not an emotional demand that I like my neighbor. Do not water down this verse. Loving others is possible because this love does not depend upon the recipient but the giver. We choose this kind of love.
To these biblical admonitions about love, I want to add a Scripture that may seem unrelated. Consider Romans 1:16-28. We seek to answer two questions: How can we love at all? How can we love the Lord with all our mind?
"How can we love at all?" The mind is amazing--we begin with nothing but a few instincts, yet the mind can be filled, your hard drive can be programmed, and this may in fact be one of the things that makes us like God. We are also like God in our ability to be creative, we can think of things that are not, we can imagine what is not. We can think abstractly. We can imagine our own death--what it would be like if we were not here.
The mind can be controlled. Paul wrote about the need to control the mind in 2 Cor. 10:5. A few years ago, a popular book written by Tim LaHaye was entitled The Battle for the Mind. The mind can be secured and protected. I challenge you to consider how secure is your mind. Is your mind secure? What is your security level? Whom do you allow to access your hard drive? Do you put every piece of junk that comes along on the hard drive? Are you selective? Is your server behind a security wall or is your mind open to anything and everything? One wag wrote, "Some people's minds are like concrete, thoroughly mixed and permanently set." This is not what I mean. "Who or what controls the content of your mind."
"How can we love the Lord with all our minds?" In searching for an answer, a related question seizes my attention: "Is this a battle totally outside us, a battle between God and Satan, a battle in which we are powerless, so we simply have to wait and see who wins, or are we players?"
Our text in Romans affirms the latter: One can hold the truth incorrectly, one can hold the truth down, one can suppress the truth. The mind can be focused. The context reflects some of the possibilities with which we can fill our minds. At least two options are before us: the righteousness of God has been revealed, the wrath of God has been revealed (Rom. 1:17-18).
Romans 1:20-22 says God's nature and power have been made visible although God himself is invisible. Implied, but not stated in the text, is that the opponent is also clearly seen--otherwise the references to choices would be meaningless. What can be known of God is revealed, what can be known of the absence of God is revealed. The mind can make choices. Who or what will we worship? Who will we serve? Someone says, I am not going to worship, but such is not an option. We are servants. The question is, Whom do we serve? Are we servants to self, to Satan and sin, or to God and righteousness?
In our text, several kinds of minds are described:
How can I love the Lord with all my mind? Here is what I know, what I desire, what I choose. My mind is bombarded daily. Simply the choice is righteousness or wrath; God or not God (the absence of God). I will live my life either with God or without God.
This is the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5); the challenge to avoid minding earthly things (Phil. 3:18); to think about things true, honest, just, pure, lovely, virtuous (Phil. 4:8-9). Indeed, we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16).
I read not long ago that French scientists have succeeded in developing a chicken that sounds like a quail. (I am not sure why you would want one.) Researchers took tissue from the part of the Japanese quail brain which controls the bird's call, and implanted it in the brains of five chicken embryos. The hatched chicks sounded like quail.
The Bible suggests God can implant the mind of Christ in us. 1 Cor. 2:12 says the Spirit of God takes us residence in us. In some unknown ways we have the capacity for divine wisdom that no scholarly education or degree or natural experience can provide. Having the mind of Christ enables us to see life increasingly from God's perspective.
That doesn't mean we can think on God's level and instruct Him (1 Cor. 2:16), but it does mean we have a new capacity to think and talk and act more and more like Christ himself. Surely this is a part of what it means to love the Lord with all your mind--filling our mind with the things of God, possessing a secure and controlled mind, focusing our thoughts, considering realistically the knowledge available to you, and choosing for God.
Lord, forgive us when we do not use the good mind you have given us. Forgive us when we do not see what you have shown us, forgive us when we fail to secure our mind, when our security systems fail and we are bombarded with all kinds of ungodliness. Help us to see, help us to choose well. Help us spend more time with you and in your word, absorbing your thoughts so we can think, and talk and love more like you. Help us develop the mind of Christ, help us love you with all our minds. In the name of the Christ, Amen.
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