Thinking Deeply for God’s Sake
It is not unusual—in fact, it’s quite common—for Christian faith to be regarded as a kind of illogical belief in improbable events. For some, faith is seen as a crutch to prop up less rational people as they navigate life’s challenges. Such critics may be surprised to learn that in reality, Christianity calls its followers not to neglect their minds but to critically engage them.
When we read the Bible, we discover that it never invites us simply to feel things; it never attempts merely to sweep us up in an emotional surge. God never once asks for or endorses the disengagement of our thinking processes. Instead, God’s word repeatedly shows us that Christianity is actually a call to think rightly and deeply about God, His world, and our place in it.
When the apostle Paul addressed the Ephesians, we read that he was “reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus,” which was likely a school for philosophy or rhetoric (Acts 19:9). Paul wasn’t just singing songs or attempting to stir up some emotional experience. No, he essentially said, Citizens of Ephesus, I want you to think and reason with me today. In Thessalonica, too, Acts tells us that Paul “reasoned” with the people, “explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead” (17:2-3). The book of Isaiah begins with a similar call to think earnestly: “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD” (Isaiah 1:18).
This exhortation to think and reason isn’t just for proclaiming the gospel but for growth in Christian maturity too. Writing to the Corinthians, Paul said, “Brothers, do not be children in your thinking” (1 Corinthians 14:20). He wanted the church to think intently and intensely about the issues they were facing. Paul was even more direct when he wrote to Timothy: “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” We do need God’s Spirit to be at work in order to think rightly (Luke 24:45; 1 Corinthians 12:3), for our intellects are as affected by sin as every other part of ourselves (Ephesians 4:17). But it is as we expend mental energy to consider the wisdom of the Scriptures that God will give us greater and greater understanding.
To follow Christ, then, is not to take a step of blind faith into the darkness but to have your eyes opened to the light of rigorous truth. It will take a lifetime—and more!—to unearth the riches of the truth you encounter in God’s word about His Son, but one thing is sure: today, as every day, God wants you to love Him and honor Him with all your mind.
The Way of the Righteous and the Wicked
1Blessed is the man1
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2but his delight is in the law2 of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
4The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
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