We are complicated beings. The greatest command given to us is an indication of the diverse essence of our humanity. Loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength is the overarching theme of our purpose. We must consider these aspects as avenues of accepting, treasuring, and living our faith. Are you the intellectual, emotional, or action-oriented type?
It is likely that each of us gravitate towards the head, heart, or hands of Christianity. However, such a gravitation neglects a true understanding of the order and nature of these categories. Perhaps consideration of these elements will help us become more faithful in our holistic service to Christ.
1. Our Heads
Our minds are the starting point of belief and the conduit of sanctification. We hear, see, read, perceive, process, reflect, and consider the gospel. The good news is in fact news, which has to be conveyed. As the journey of the gospel begins in our minds, we are presented with facts, history, events, truth, and spiritual realities. Salvation is the glorious transformation of embracing those realities through the enabling power of grace.
Sanctification involves this same process. We are exposed to God’s truth on an ongoing basis and respond, by God’s grace, through further surrendering to God’s revealed will. However, though the mind is where this journey and lifelong process begins, it is not where it is completed.
2. Our Hearts
As we learn, we either respond passionately or passively. God is worthy of our adoration, not just our consideration. The heart must be gripped by what the mind grasps. If the mind is the entrance and exit of what we learn, then God is not glorified and His kingdom is not advanced. Therefore, the information has to become transformative by impacting our hearts. This act of transformation is also an act of God’s grace.
When our hearts treasure what our minds know, then God is honored. This occurs for two reasons. First, worship is powerless if minds and hearts aren’t synced in Christ-exalting passion. Second, knowledge is only the beginning of wisdom. Once the richness of knowing God saturates our hearts in joy, the response is the overflow of that joy in self-sacrificial service to Christ.
3. Our Hands
James makes it crystal clear that faith without works is dead. Once our hearts rejoice in what we comprehend, then we advance the work of the kingdom and distinguish ourselves from the demons (James 2:19).
What began in our heads must make its way to our hearts and then work itself out through our hands. The faith we heard and understood becomes the truth we love; and that love cares for the widows and orphans, bridles the tongue, and motivates us to keep ourselves unstained from the world.
Ignorance, indifference, and inaction are not acceptable. Neither of these qualities serve Christ well. The world we live in is in darkness due to the lack of Christians passionately (heart) defending and perpetuating (hands) the truth (head). So, how do we pursue this integrated faith? Acknowledge which way you lean. Each of us likely possesses characteristics that make us a head, heart, or hand type of person. True faith is not one of these, but all of them. Therefore fight, by God’s grace, to grow in wisdom (knowledge working itself out in love).
Genuine fellowship, community, and accountability help us to find the balance and become more holistic in our Christian lives. To neglect this is to leave our inclination in one direction unchecked.
Be intentional in stepping out of your comfort zone and cultivating the other areas of your life. If you are a head person (like me), then find opportunities to develop the heart and hands. Surround yourself with people of different gifts so that you can help each other grow.
Passages to Ponder
Colossians 1: Connect the elements of this passage. Knowledge, understanding, and truth; joy and love; walking worthy and bearing fruit are all present in Paul’s exhortation.
2 Corinthians 8: Paul urges us to excel in every area of our lives through overflowing joy in Christ, regardless of our circumstances. By grace we understand, rejoice, and sacrifice because of an abounding and enduring joy.