We live in a world confused about intelligence. A PhD candidate is lauded for their industry break-through on neural pathway mapping while the same student is then encouraged to just go get hammered this weekend because research demands have been a beast to endure.
Why would someone so undeniably intelligent make such a brain-evicting decision? Because as much as our world values knowledge and intelligence, it undervalues wisdom, specifically the wisdom of God.
Other faiths and beliefs champion the idea of “emptying your mind” and just going with whatever happens. “Free your mind” is the mantra many pursue. Eastern mysticism even encourages a meditative descent to Alpha level where you mentally detach your brain to the point of immobility. Being mentally incapacitated is seen as a positive, even revered.
Having faith is not a contrast to intelligent living; in fact, a life of faith is stronger because of the demands of faith. C.S. Lewis wrote these words in his work Mere Christianity,
“Anyone who is honestly trying to be a Christian will soon find his intelligence being sharpened: one of the reasons why it needs no special education to be a Christian is that Christianity is an education itself.”
At no point does God ever call us to kiss our brains goodbye. The six inches between our ears is one of God’s greatest gifts. To not use our brains to their fullest potential is one of the worst misappropriations.
There’s a huge difference between stepping out in faith, well aware of the potential risks, and just making dumb decisions. This is why the Apostle Paul encouraged the Roman believers to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Rom. 12.2) and later he also reminded Timothy that God gave us the gift of a sound mind (2 Tim. 1.7).
Part of following Jesus means we actively engage our minds in crucial areas of our lives:
- Reading good books that stretch both our faith and our brains.
- Having conversations with people who think very differently than we think.
- Challenging the status quo of our beliefs and theology, especially if we’ve blindly accepted whatever someone has told us about faith, God, the Bible, and life in years past.
- Asking tough questions of our community and ourselves.
- Searching for our greatest purpose in life with faith to know God’s ways may not make sense to us, but we can still use our brains to consider what He’s called us to do and to be.
May you use your mind today to actively engage the world around you. May your thoughts align with the thoughts of our Creator. And may you think about the difference your mind can make in the lives of others today.