Mind: Loving God

Photo by Barney Moss

By Chloe Sun

For the past several months, I have been using the book of Psalms in my devotional time. In the past, I tended to dwell on the meaning of each Psalm, contemplating what it meant or how it spoke to me in my current context. This time, as I read the Psalms, I intentionally observed the interconnectedness among the neighboring Psalms and what they meant to their original reader and to me.

As I read Psalm 1 and Psalm 2 together in Hebrew, their similarities in vocabulary and content struck me with joy and exhilaration. I discovered something new, even profound in my understanding of these two Psalms. For instance, the word “mediate” as in “in his law, he meditates day and night” (Ps 1:2) and the word “plot” as in “why do nations rage and the peoples plot a vain thing?” (Ps 2:1) are one and the same word in Hebrew. Reading both Psalms together, it yields the meaning: instead of plotting a vain thing like the nations do, I should meditate on his law always. Discoveries like this “blows my mind.” It enhances my joy of reading Scripture and motivates me to probe further.

As I was thinking and reflecting on the source of my joy in reading Scripture, I then realized how the role of my mind plays in my spiritual pursuit. I have a yearning to learn something new all the time and this “yearning” mostly concerns my intellect, my mind. It is great to learn something new in terms of a new skill, a new hobby, or new technology. However, the greatest satisfaction of learning something new is in regard to learning new insights or new ideas that expands my mind, my horizon, my worldview, and my perspectives. That is why I love reading because reading plants new ideas in my mind. I cannot imagine a life without reading and learning new ideas.

The human mind is a fascinating creation of God. It absorbs information, processes complicated concepts and procedures; it remembers, synthesizes, integrates, generates, and imagines. It takes us beyond our physical bodies and transcends boundaries. That leads me to the Shema: You shall love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might (Deut 6:5). In the Hebrew worldview, “heart” does not symbolize the seat of emotion as Westerners would assume. “Heart” in Hebrew often refers to the “mind.”

What does it mean to “love God with our mind”? For me, it means to use my mind to think, to learn, to ruminate, and to meditate as Psalm 1 tells us. Loving God is not an act of emotion or feelings only. Rather, it is with our mind, our intellect, our reason, our volition and our will. In that sense, loving God with our mind is just as spiritual as loving God with our emotion. Loving God with our mind means to read and reason with Scripture, to study and understand it as well as to apply it in different areas of our lives with wisdom. Using our mind to love God then becomes an integral part of our relationship with him.

My reading of Psalms 1 and 2 reflects how my mind plays in my relationship with God. Simply put, loving God with our mind means “faith seeking understanding.”

Chloe Sun, PhD., has been teaching Hebrew Scriptures at Logos Evangelical Seminary since 2004. Her research interests include culture, gender, and identity issues in the Old Testament, Asian American Interpretations of the Bible, and Wisdom Literature. She lives with her husband and son in Southern California.


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