You might be saying, "Duh, Jesse, I've read that verse a million times." Well, I have too. But until recently, I never really thought about it (talk about not using my mind). You see, these past 2 years have been pretty interesting to me. I've been on a journey that is at times devastating yet liberating, scary yet comforting. All my life, I've held beliefs that I never owned. They were passed down to me by pastors and parents and authority figures, but I never decided for myself what it was I truly believed or had any reasons to back up my faith.
I've always been good at loving God with all my heart and soul, I mean, come on, I am a contemporary worship leader. I know how to sing with all my strength and love passionately. I know how to pray with fervor and seek the presence of God despite how I feel. However, I had been pretty slack about loving God with all my mind. I was basically a sheep that was mindlessly following after a belief system that passion could only take me so far in. There were things that I was preaching that I didn't even wholeheartedly believe in myself.
I've been with my wife for 15 years now, married for 12. I know her intimately and deeply. I have incredible passion for her, but I also have a strong mental connection to her. There are times that the passion has waned, and the thing that kept us going strong was the mental part of our relationship. Our relationship with God is very similar. There are seasons where I don't feel His presence at all. It has only been my mental admiration that kept me on track with Him. We cannot rely on the passions of our faith to sustain us. We have to have a strong intellectual connection with our creator and our faith in order to truly love Him as He deserves.
Some people actually are scared of gaining too much knowledge, like it is dangerous to question our beliefs and dissect them and search out what it is that we truly think. I think it is dangerous not to do those things. For people to live their entire lives just mindlessly following the masses is harmful to them and to the movement of Christianity. It many times creates ignorance and intolerance and damaging attitudes of prejudice. Now, before you write me off and think that I'm some liberal who has forsaken the Bible, know that I still agree with many of my former beliefs. However, I have gotten rid of many others. One thing I know, Christ is the foundation of the house that is my faith, but from time to time, my house will have some redecorating done to it. As I change and my knowledge grows, so does my understanding of certain things. God has taken me on a journey of discovering Him without all the noise that used to fill my ears about who He is. I've felt Him more at times when I least expected it, and let go of a lot of my childish viewpoints of who I've been told He is.
I write this to encourage you today, Christians, non-Christians, people of all the religions of the world. Don't accept something because you were taught it. Use the mind that God gave you to discover for yourself and to challenge the status quo and to have a healthy knowledge of why you believe the things that you believe. It may take time. I'm 2 years in and not even close to feeling like I know anything. I'll probably be on this journey for the rest of my life, and things I think I believe now will likely change. But that's OK! I'm perfectly comfortable with a little disequilibrium in order to stretch myself to become who God actually wants me to be. Don't be afraid to renovate your house. Some of you are living in a 1970's home with flowery wallpaper and bright sea foam green tile in the bathroom. Tear that junk up and do some renovations. Put a fresh coat of paint on the walls. Even if it's the same color, it'll give it a new life. I hope this helps someone today to have the permission to ask questions. Don't be afraid, step out into the unknown and find answers for yourself. It is incredibly satisfying. And by the way, I feel like I love God more now than ever.