“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth…” — Ephesians 6:14
Have you ever had one of those conversations with a professing Christian when you ask them if they love Jesus and they affirmatively respond but give an answer tantamount to saying “I’ve loved Jesus for years now…..but I don’t know His word/commandment”?
Disconcerting isn’t it? And that is probably mainly due to the disturbing implications of what is actually being said and what it reveals of their working understanding of the first commandment. Ever also hear that “head knowledge” and “heart knowledge” dichotomy too? Where a person basically says that they love God (in their heart) but don’t really know Him or the things of God (in their head). I hear this so much, tacitly and openly admitted by so many who profess Christ, that it is a jarring shock to the mind when it is provoked to think by inquisition to why it isn’t being vigilantly employed to think. I mean how can you love the God whom you do not know? And how can you know the God whom you ought to love with all your mind if your mind is placed off to the side in the matter of knowing God? If the heart affections for God are not proportionately effecting a great desire of the mind for His testimony in His truth, the disconnect is one which cannot long be sustained. It is like having the link between the fuel tank and the engine of a car severed, there is no bypass and Christianity doesn’t run like a hybrid-car.
One issue of critical concern amongst so many professing Christians in Nigeria is the matter of very little or insufficient attention paid to properly studying the word of God. The believer in Christ is called to honor and to love God with all (ὅλος; holos; complete in extent, time, degree, amount; altogether, every whit) their mind. When the Scriptures enjoins the beloved to “gird up the loins of your mind” (1Pet.1:13) and to “study to show yourself approved” (2Tim. 2:15), it is a call for the believer in Christ to diligently apply themselves to careful study of His truth and ready preparedness for immediate obedient action to know His will and to serve the Lord God in whatsoever He calls them to do. Christians are not to be “children in understanding” (1Cor.14:20) and are to “understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph.5:17), along with many other exhortations to seek after godly wisdom such as we find in Col. 1:9, 2Pet.1:5-7 and 2Pet.3:18
In another place, Paul, writing to the saints in Ephesus says, “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment…” (Phil.1:9); which speaks to a discerning compassion and intelligent affection conditioned by divine truth opened to the heart and mind by the Spirit of the Lord. Truth and love intertwined in healthy vitality and made evident in sound doctrine and sound practice.
This is not a call to put aside the mind in irrational and incoherent mystical deduction that selectively picks and pecks at certain Scriptures excised from their biblical context and applied with a shallow and subjectively personal (mis)interpretation. This is a call to fastidiousness of the mind in honoring God by being firmly established in the truth of His word (Eph. 6:14).
There is no true understanding of the word of Christ apart from the illumination of the Spirit, who breathed out the word of truth; and so the enjoinment is — you’ve got to exert your mental faculties some.
I say this with sympathetic solemnity and ardent care, but the price which one pays for neglectful laziness and/or ignorant refusal to mindfully search the Scriptures and to think about the great nourishing truths of Christian doctrine is either continued unbelief or a crippled Christian experience.
And more often than not, too many impoverished souls are found pursuing the false affirmations of vain religious platitudes in headless knowledge and truly heartless understanding.
your fellow servant and witness of Christ.
1 Peter 1:13 — “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
2Timothy 2:15 — “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”
1Corinthians 14:20 — “Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.”
Ephesians 5:17 — “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
Colossians 1:9 — “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding…”
2Peter 1:5-7 — “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.”
Philippians 1:9-11 — “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”