The people I hang with are almost always struggling with getting their hearts and minds on the same page. I know this but I want this. My heart tells me this, but my mind can’t figure it out. I see the truth, but I can’t move it down 18 inches to my heart. I love this, but it makes no sense.
As well, churches seem to struggle bringing hearts and minds together. Most are drawn to focusing primarily on either the heart (music, experience, community) or the mind (classes, discipleship, study). Few are good at doing both. Spiritually, how does our heart and mind work together? How is God shaping and growing them, both together and independently?
On the Renewing Your Mind radio broadcast, Christian theologian and author R.C. Sproul was interviewed on the question of the relationship between the mind and the heart in the Christian life. What he said lit up my darkness, and has become a favorite quote:
“There are two a priori (first) things in Christian faith: the mind and the heart. Salvation begins first in the mind, but has as its first goal the heart.”
It seems that God wants both our hearts and our minds. Both are first to him. Some people find it easier to approach God with one or the other. They comprehend God’s call or his nature. Others feel God’s peace or love. But both heart and mind are critical for our souls to grow. Jesus says this clearly, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the most important commandment” (Matthew 22:37-39). Per Sproul:
“You can’t have affection for that which you don’t know anything about. And so, in the first instance the Word of God is directed to the mind. But people can have all kinds of information in their head. They can score 100 on a systematic theology exam. The devil could make an A+ on a theology exam, all the while his heart is alienated from Christ and from the things of God … God wants both the heart and the mind. They lead directly to the soul.”