We live in a day and age that has more access to information than ever before. Yet our problems don’t seem to be lessening. In fact, at times it might even seems that our problems are even worse now than before. Lack of information is not the problem.
Information is not transformation.
And being a Christian is not about our intellectual ascent to knowing the right things. Being a Christian is not simply about knowing that an event happened in history, but it’s knowing that event in history is also present reality. It’s knowing that the death and resurrection of Jesus not only happened, but death and resurrection happens daily. You die to your sins and are brought to life in Christ because we have faith in the death and resurrection that happened.
But sometimes it’s easy to let our minds get the best of us. We think, “That couldn’t be possible.” Or “Is that really true?” Maybe even, “Well the scriptures didn’t say that…” We often let our minds get the best of us. We trust our own thinking and reasoning; sometimes even putting our hope in our own thinking over anything else.
The Whore Named Reason
Martin Luther said, “Reason is the devil’s greatest whore.”
Our minds are a good thing, but let’s be clear about what serves what.
In quoting Deuteronomy, Jesus teaches love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. But the temptation comes in when we begin to elevate our thinking beyond the point it should elevated to. The temptation is to trust our own thinking and reasoning over what God has revealed to us.
Our minds are a gift, but they are not to be the place we put our trust.
In the dialogue leading up to the story of the Good Samaritan, we witness an expert letting his mind get the best of him:
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘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, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. "You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” - Luke 10:25-29
The expert in the law, when he realizes that he does not do what he’s supposed to do, he tries to justify himself. He says, “Well, neighbor doesn’t really mean neighbor.”
This is the temptation for us, that we try to justify ourselves. We use our thinking, and we play mental gymnastics to try to say, “Well, this doesn’t meant this,” or, “The Bible really says this,” or, “God really wants me to do this,” or, “God’s telling me to do this.” We trust in our mind and not what God has said.
Our minds seek self-justification. Our minds want to make us feel right about what we do. And the problem with relying on self-justification is that although it might make you feel better, it won’t make you better. Although you can play tricks with the words, that does not remove your guilt.
Knowledge is not our problem.
The problem is we need transformation. We need the Gospel to do it’s work on us. To give us a need heart. To change the inward bend of our heart. To redirect our faith from our own minds to the person and work of Christ.