The “great commandment” as explained by Jesus in Matthew 22:37-38 is, “love the LORD with all of your heart, soul, and MIND (emphasis mine). Sadly in our present time, many people who claim to love Christ are insisting that we must disengage our minds and simply have faith. This is, however, a mistaken view of faith and also how we should live the Christian life. Our minds are a gift from the Lord to be used for His glory. We are not to disengage them but to use them in every avenue of life to the glory of God. The Christian faith is not a mindless faith but a substantive faith based on objective truth that is revealed to us in the Word of God. The following paragraphs are an excerpt from James Montgomery Boice’s commentary on Psalm 119. I found them to be particularly helpful in demonstrating the importance and value of the mind in various aspects of the Christian life. I pray it will also prove edifying to you the reader.
“Our minds matter in worship, because worship is honoring God for who he is, and in order to do that we must understand something about his wonderful attributes. We must praise him for being sovereign, holy, merciful, wise, omniscient, and so on. Without a mental understanding of God’s attributes worship becomes only an emotional binge in which we indulge our feelings.
Our minds matter for faith, because faith is believing and acting on the promises of God, and in order to believe God’s promises we must understand what they are. Apart from a right use of the mind, faith becomes only a feeling or, worse yet, wishful thinking.
Growth in Holiness
Our minds matter for growth in holiness, which is what we are chiefly concerned about in this psalm, because growth in holiness (sanctification) is not a matter of emotions or simply following a formula for living—the two most popular approaches to sanctification today—but rather knowing what God has done in us when he joined us to Christ, and then acting on it because there is really no other way for us to act. As I said in my studies of Romans 6, it is knowing that we cannot go back to being what we were and therefore that there is no direction for us to go but forward.
Our minds matter in seeking personal guidance as to how we should live and what decisions we must make, because the principles by which we must be guided are in the Bible. God does not guide us by mystical revelations, and we cannot count on God’s providential ordering of events alone, though he does indeed order all things. The chief and usually the only way God guides is by the Bible. To be guided by God we need to study to understand God’s Word and then apply its principles. That cannot be done without thinking.
Our minds matter in evangelism, because if a person must have faith to be saved and if faith is responding to the Word of God and acting on it, then we must present the teaching of the Bible and the claims of Jesus Christ so others can understand them. They must know what they are believing. If they do not understand what they are believing and therefore are only able to respond emotionally, theirs is not a true faith nor a true conversion.
Finally, our minds matter in ministry, first, in seeking out a sphere of service (What am I good at? Where do my spiritual gifts lie? What is God leading me to do for him?) and second, to serve in that sphere well (How should I go about the work I have been given?).” (1)
I recently heard a pastor say, “there is a popular and true maxim that says ‘the mind is a terrible thing to waste.’ But many in the Church of our day simply believe that the mind is a terrible thing.” Brethren, your mind is a wonderful gift from the Lord and you are commanded to use it to love Him and for His glory. Your mind matters. Don’t waste it!
(1) James Montgomery Boice, Psalms, Volume 3: Psalms 107-150: An Expositional Commentary (Ada, Michigan: Baker Books, 1998), Advancing in God’s School, Logos.