In part one of this three part blog series on Loving the LORD with all your mind we looked at three of God’s Lordship attributes and how they can be applied in the realm of knowledge. As Lord, God has all Authority to rule, it is His right to rule. As Lord, God is in control of all that He rules over, He shows His might throughout the universe. And As Lord, God is present and intimately involved with His creation and His creatures; God is personal and has made us personal in His image, aka God’s light.
Based on these three attributes of God’s Lordship, we follow Professor John Frame’s lead and view human knowledge through three perspectives. The Normative Perspective, based on God’s Authority to set laws and norms in the universe He created. The Situational Perspective, based on God’s control over every situation and fact in this universe. And the Existential Perspective based on God’s personal character and loving presence in His created universe and with His creatures.
In Part one we looked at Proverbs 3:5-7 for guidance in How we are to obey God’s command to Love the Lord with all our minds (Matt. 22:37).
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.”
Then we “perspectified” these verses to show how it warrants the use of John Frame’s model.
We started by looking at what it means to fear the LORD and submit our minds to His authority. This post will examine the Situational perspective, acknowledging the LORD in all of our ways. What you may start to see is that each perspective necessarily includes the other two perspectives. For instance, in order to truly fear the LORD we need to trust the LORD and if we really do fear and trust the LORD then we will acknowledge Him in all of our ways. So let’s jump right into acknowledging Him in all our ways!
I always like to use some sort of gravity analogy to help get this point across so let’s see if this one works for you. let’s say my nephew runs up to me and says “Uncle Park, uncle Park! I just learned about gravity in preschool today! It’s so cool! You drop stuff and it’ll fall back to the ground at a certain rate because gravity pulls it down!”. I’d say my nephew has a decent grasp of gravity, he’s made a logical assent and grasped the general concept of the theory of the Law of Gravitation as it applies to the earth and things (some people might argue that gravity doesn’t pull anything but it’s really space pushing an object towards the earth… He’s in preschool so relax). If my nephew then jumps off the couch and expects to glide across the room and up the stairs i’d say that although my nephew has a knowledge of gravity, he isn’t acknowledging it in all of his ways. I’d then have to put some toilet paper in his nose to stop the bleeding.
So if we say we are fearing the LORD but we don’t acknowledge Him in all our ways we aren’t really getting what fearing the LORD means. We are experiencing cognitive dissonance and there’s some disconnect between what we say we believe and what we’re actually living out. Fearing the LORD is about submitting your thoughts to His word. Acknowledging the LORD in all your ways is about applying His word to all the various situations you find yourself in. We read the Bible and see that we’re supposed to consider others as more important than ourselves, then we cut people off in traffic or rush to beat someone to the front of the line in the grocery store “cuz I gets mine!”. That’s the exact opposite of loving the LORD with all your mind and actions.
James, the brother of Jesus, warns us about cognitive dissonance. He tells us that a double minded person is unstable in all their ways (James 1:8) but then he tells us how to avoid being double minded.
“be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” (James 1:22-25)
Boom. James does us a great service in summing up what it means to acknowledge the LORD in all our ways. If you read God’s Word and acknowledge that it’s true but then you go out into the world and don’t acknowledge His Word in your actions then you’re being double minded. You’re like a person who looks at their reflection and instantly forgets it. According to James, you’re deceiving yourself if you think you’re living for God this way. Loving the LORD with all your mind means hearing His Word, submitting your mind to His authority and acting on it, not being forgetful hearers but effectual doers of His Word. Living in light of your beliefs.
Acknowledging the LORD in all your ways means reading your Bible, praying to the Lord and asking for His guidance daily but later in James’ later we see that there are even more implications. Not only are we to acknowledge God in our present situations but even in planning for the future.
“Come now, you who say, “today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do an fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (James 4:1-17)
Now if you’re anything like me, you might think this sounds a little extreme. What’s so wrong with making plans about tomorrow? Nothing. Making plans is a good thing, God makes plans and we are made in His image so in a sense when we make plans we’re representing our Creator. Proverbs is full of insight on how to plan wisely for your future. The problem that James is addressing in these verses is arrogance and forgetfulness. When we make plans for our futures without acknowledging the God who gives us life and breath and controls our destinies we are being ridiculous. God tells us to submit our plans to Him, when we don’t, not only are we being disobedient, but we’re saying that we don’t really believe God matters.
Instead of mapping out our lives without reference to God, we ought to say “if the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that”. Now a lot of us misunderstand this as well. Saying “if the Lord wills” isn’t a magic bullet. We don’t need to slap this statement on the end of everything we say. This isn’t a compulsory superstition, it’s an attitude of the heart. We should genuinely believe that our lives are in God’s hands and we will do all that He allows us to do.
Instead of mindlessly going about our daily lives we are to give thought to our path. We are to submit our dreams, plans, thoughts, desires, emotions, and actions to the Lord in humility. As we Fear and reverence the LORD more we will step out and act on His word more. As we act on His Word our trust in Him will grow and around and around the triangle we go. When we acknowledge the LORD in all our ways we get to claim His promise “to make straight our paths” (Proverbs 3:6). That doesn’t mean we’ll all live easy lives, but it does mean He will continue the good work He started in us and help us continue on the path that leads to righteousness and everlasting life. Loving the LORD with all our mind means bringing our thoughts and actions in concert with one another under submission to God.
Part 3 will conclude this blog series by examining the Existential Perspective of loving the LORD with all our minds.