Our best-laid plans had a detour. When we installed our new website over the weekend, our email service provider thought that it needed to send Friday’s post again. I felt like I served my guests “leftovers.” The good news is that you got a chance to see the new website. We are excited about the changes and like the new and improved capabilities. I’m sorry if there was any confusion, but now…on to the subject of today’s blog. Why is it important to “think” biblically?
I was speaking to a group last Sunday and mentioned that our ministry exists to help people think biblically. You may have heard the phrase, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Those words are taken from Proverbs 23:7 and deserve some explanation today.
In the Hebrew way of thinking, the heart was the center of a person’s emotions, intellect and will. Moses taught the Hebrew nation to repeat the Shema, twice a day. It was considered the most important part of their daily prayer service. The Shema: “Hear O Israel: the Lord our God is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts” (Deuteronomy. 6:4-6). Consider what they believed about the heart – then reread the Shema.
The Shema still defines the relationship that God wants with each of us. Is God the basis for your emotions, your intellect and your will? Are you passionate about your relationship with God? Do you base your values and opinions on his word – or something less? Do you spend the bulk of your time and energy doing things that honor God and advance his Kingdom? Do you want to hit the “delete” button on this blog and not read anymore? Resist the urge – I’ll make this worth your effort!
How is it possible for someone in the real world, with a real schedule, and a real life to obey the Shema? I wish we could say we were off the hook – after all, we are Christians, not Hebrews. The problem is, when the Pharisees asked Jesus the most important commandment, he answered them with the Shema and then ADDED a second commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Not only are we still accountable for the Shema, we are accountable for the way we treat others as well. Now, are you ready to type “warm, quiet island retreat” into Google and see if you can afford an escape? Honestly, if you are taking time to read this blog, chances are you are working hard at your faith. Does it feel that God has set the standard too high? It feels that way because God did set the standard too high for you and I to achieve – on our own.
God gave us his Holy Spirit for a reason. We need him – 24/7. We can’t be godly on our own. (Think “tower of Babel” or the “golden calf.”) I wrote the “Keep In Step” devotion from the book of James to help us learn to think like God wants us to. It is available on the new website and you may download it or print it out. The book of James will help you to think biblically, and “as a man (or woman) thinks – so we will be.
I hope at the end of this year all of us will be able to say we have a closer, Spirit-led walk with the Lord. It will begin with examining our hearts. Is God the center of your emotions, intellect and will? That is my personal goal and a journey I hope we will share together.