“If you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:1-5).
Receive, incline, be attentive, seek, call out for, and search for knowledge. This sounds as if we are expected to put forth effort to strengthen our mind. We need to be proactive in gaining intellectual insight. Is this the attitude of our culture? Is this the attitude of our churches? Is this my attitude?
The intellectual life seems to be out of vogue these days. Most people do not talk about what they are learning or thinking about; rather they discuss what they do and what they experience. Truths are not important in our society anymore, what matters most to people are events, happenings and the busy details of life.
When they do talk about thoughts or the thought life, they share opinions. These opinions are often ideas that they chose to believe because they like the idea, not because it is based in truth. Even Christians have this anti-intellectual mindset. They often base their idea of what Jesus would do on their feelings or worse, they base it on their secular training. By choosing to define Christian ideas, by man’s ideas, we have given the world and other believers the wrong impression on what it means to live for Jesus.
To make an impact on our world, we must have something impactful to offer. Our watered down version of Christianity that we have imagined in our minds will not have the power to cause revival, let alone reach a lost world. We must get back to studying the Word and base our thoughts of God on truth. “The true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him” (John 4:23). Intellectual effort must be exerted to know the truth.
How can we serve and worship the God we do not know? In John 4, Jesus speaks with the Samaritan woman. He told her that they were worshipping what they do not know. The Samaritans had been worshipping according to their national training, not according to the truth of God. It seems that we in America may be in this same mindset. We are called to worship, but we cannot worship what we do not know. We are called to impact our world. We are called to know Jesus.
Our intellectual well being matters. We are called to put forth effort in knowing the truth. To do our best for our God and Savior, we must study. We need to know, (be aware of through observation, inquiry, or information[i]), God and His Word.
Thank you Lord, that I live in a time when it is easy to learn about you. I have so many resources to help me. I have access to material and insight from renowned teachers and scholars, past and present. I have an innate curiosity and desire to learn. You have truly blessed me. Do not let me waste my time on worthless pursuits or passivity. Help me to know You and Your Will better as I study to know you more.
For an in depth look at the importance of an intellectual life that pleases God, I recommend