Throughout scripture repeatedly we are told to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Loving the Lord with all your mind is an intellectual pursuit to know and understand God.
Loving God with our mind can include memorizing his Scripture, intellectual pursuits of studying theology or teachings of others, sermons, and seeking to understand God and how to live in obedience to him through our mind. The New Testament uses two Greek words for knowledge: gnosis and epignosis. Gnosis refers to moral wisdom, general intelligence, and basic understanding. Epignosis refers to knowledge of things ethical and divine, precise and correct knowledge.
God’s word speaks about the mind in many different ways. It talks about our mind as being something that is corrupt and evil before we come to God, and as something that needs to be renewed and changed when we come into relationship with God.
When we pursue God with our mind and try to live out our faith through intellectual pursuits there are great risks that we will fall into several traps and deceptions. Our flesh and the enemy try to deceive and mislead us at every turn and our minds are very susceptible. We can fall into arrogance thinking we understand with gnosis knowledge when we really need to have epignosis understanding of God and his ways. We may seek to control things, argue, live under the law, and move toward unbelief because our fleshly mind is saying the belief we have is enough. Our minds can be tremendous battlefields toward our faith. They are closed to God until he draws us toward him. Sin can also darken and confuse our minds and lead us astray. We need God to open and minds and change them.
So why would God tell us to love him with our mind if it is such a difficult area? Exactly because of that. We need to submit our minds to God and have him change our mind so it is fully his. Our knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and insights must come from God. As we surrender to him and allow him to live and be through us we are filled with his spirit. God created our minds and he needs to be left in complete control of them. Our world tells us exactly the opposite so surrendering your mind and truly taking on the mind of God is a difficult and even costly pursuit. God’s mind and ways are radically different than the mind and ways of the world. Put off your old mind and put on God’s mind, it is very worth the pursuit! Is your theology (belief system) working, or do you need to reset your mind to match what God’s word says? Here is some of what he says about the mind!
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:45)
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. (Romans 8:5-7)
- Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
- But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3)
- You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:2)