Why is it so much easier to love God with our minds than it is to love him with our hearts and souls and our nieghbors as our selves?

Luke 10: 25-28

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.

Lately, I have been musing over the issue of pride in the Christian walk.  St Augustine, Jonathan Edwards and Reinhold Niebuhr all believed that original sin was pride and self interest.  In fact, if these men are correct and I believe they are, all sin can be boiled down to pride and self-interest.  I dare you to dissect a sin; any sin and you will find pride and self-interest at the root staring you in the face.  For the Christian, salvation and sanctification is about destroying pride and self-interest so that we can love God with all of our hearts, minds and souls and our neighbors as ourselves.  But because our pride and self-interest are so embedded in our DNA even when we try to do these things our pride rears its ugly head.

For instance, when we spend a lot of time studying the Bible, theology, church history and doctrine, as I do, pride can emerge.  We can become so concerned with having our theological I’s dotted and T’s crossed that it leads to pride when we think we have accomplished this.  There is nothing wrong with studying these things and doctrine is extremely important but if these exercises do not create a changed life we are missing the point of Christianity.  If we read our Bibles daily so that it makes our consciences feel good but it does not change us, we are missing the point of Christianity and justification by faith.  We are making Christianity about works.  Personally, I am a confessional Christian who believes the Westminster Confession of Faith is an accurate interpretation of the Bible and I believe it is valuable to know this creed, but if “knowing” this creed only feeds my mind, I am missing the point. Unfortunately, it seems so much easier to love God with all of our minds than it is to love him with all our hearts and souls and it seems way easier to love God with all of our minds than it is to love our neighbors as ourselves.   But why is that?

First, loving God with our minds does not cost us as much as loving God with all of our hearts or loving our neighbor’s as ourselves.  Loving God with our minds requires that we spend time learning about God.  It is a one-way conversation.  We soak up information.  We do not have to be personal with God. Second, knowledge puffs up and can create pride, which Paul well knew (1 Corinthians chapter 8:1-3).  And as I have already stated we are good with pride. Third, loving God with all of our hearts and souls means loving God at the seat of our beings which is far more radical than merely loving God with our minds intellectually.  To love God with all of our hearts and souls means getting personal with God and with our sinful condition. Fourth the reason we run from loving God with all of our hearts and souls is because it is messy.  It will lead us to reevaluate everything in our lives including how we care for our fellow man. It will cause a radical shift in our priorities.  In essence, it forces us to face our pride and self interest square in the face. Fifth, loving our neighbors as ourselves screams that we are not the center of the universe and that other people’s interests is more important than our own. That is another attack on our pride.

I fear that one reason orthodox Christianity in America is so unappealing to many is because we focus so much on our intellectual love of God that we fail to focus enough attention on loving him with all of our hearts and souls or our neighbors.  Don’t get me wrong I all for upholding orthodox doctrine, but that orthodox doctrine should spill out into the world.  If we proclaim to believe in the deity of Christ, how does that impact how we love God and our fellow man?  If we proclaim to believe in the literal bodily resurrection of Christ, how does that impact how we love God and our fellow man? If we believe in the Bible as the inerrant, infallible word of God, how does that impact how we love God and our fellow man?

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