Ken Boonstra writes for us again today.
(Over the next week we will be focusing on seven areas of the mission statement of Immanuel CRC)
"Immanuel Christian Reformed Church
is a multigenerational community of disciples
called by God to utilize our spiritual gifts
by growing in our knowledge of and passion for Jesus Christ,
joining in relationship with others,
and serving God in the renewal of His creation."
Growing in Knowledge – We actively participate in the life-long process of learning about God through the study of scripture.
September 10, 1977 I declared my undying and forever love for Anita Hoogstraten. Usually, if you say you love someone we think that’s a matter of the heart. But the truth is love is as much a matter of the mind as it is of the heart. Our minds matter in love. I know, we live in an age where feelings take top billing. What we feel about something or someone often trumps a knowing reflection. If my feelings for Anita determined the longevity of our relationship, we may have split a long time ago. My feelings go up and down – always have, always will. Knowing who Anita is, knowing her love for me, knowing my love for her, knowing our frailties and our strengths – all of these and more have contributed to 38 years of marriage. Feelings alone could not carry the freight.
I’m reminded that John Calvin once noted that we cannot know God unless we know ourselves and we cannot know ourselves unless we know God. I understand this to mean that we won’t get our love for God straight unless our minds are fully engaged. Unless we spend time in thoughtful reflection about who God is we will never develop the fullest awareness of God’s love for us or the extent of our love and need for God. I suppose that’s why Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and soul, and mind.” Our minds matter. Knowing is essential for a full life with God.
And our knowing starts with scripture. Scripture is the greatest revelation of who God is and who we are. We will lose our way in life without scripture. Psalm 119 says scripture is like a light to guide us. Paul in Timothy says scripture makes us “wise for salvation.” If we want to live as saved people, we need scripture to shape us, encourage us, challenge us, inform us. It’s not a once for all learning. We’re always called, as Paul does Timothy, to “continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of.” Keep on learning about God’s grace, God’s goodness, God’s plan, God’s redemption, God’s future – because all of these inform our lives. You can never know enough about what it means to have faith in Jesus Christ. Our minds, shaped by God’s word, not only lead us to know about God, but also lead us to know God. You will never experience God’s undying and forever love unless you know God.
How has scripture shaped your love for God? What are some of the best ways you’ve discovered to engage in life-long learning about who God is and who you are?