Everyone’s a theologian.
Everyone’s a theologian because everyone thinks something about God, even if your thought about him is that you think he’s not real. Everyone operates with a theology. There are Christian theologians, Buddhist theologians, Muslim theologians, Atheist theologians, and all other sorts.
You’re a theologian.
For the Christian, that means something unique. The Christian cannot be a passive theologian who has idle thoughts about God here and there. Christians are called to be active theologians who are constantly trying to learn more about the God we worship.
In my experience, Millennial evangelicals care far more about loving God with their hearts than they do loving God with their minds, and as a result, the God they love is nothing more than a construction of who they want God to be.
In our present age, you better know why you believe what you believe or you won’t believe it long.
This is why so many young people (and people in general, really) deny God in hard times. When the God you claim to love is a God that protects you from anything bad, you’re not worshiping the Christian God—you’re worshiping a fantasy god you’ve created in your mind that vaguely resembles the God of the Bible.
Here are three reasons you need to love God with your mind and not be theologically dumb:
1. You can’t love what you don’t understand.
When you love God with your heart but not your mind, you end up loving the god of your imagination, not the God of the universe.
A lot of young people don’t like studying theology because it seems cold, boring, and not really necessary to be a Christian.
The problem with that – is the Bible:
“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Deuteronomy 6:5
“There’s no ‘mind’ there!” you might say. Don’t be fooled. In the Hebrew, “heart” = mind. See Jesus’ recitation of this verse in Matthew 22:37:
“And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’”
Realistically, think about it: it’s going to be hard to love Someone you don’t understand.
You question how God can exist when bad things happen, which is natural, but if you understand who he is, you’re less likely to blame him and forsake him when sin invades creation.
Think about the people closest to you. You love them more than you love random strangers on the street. Why? Because you know them. If you’re married, think about how difficult it would be to love your spouse if you didn’t really know him or her.
How could my poor wife love me despite my fashion choices if she didn’t know I am colorblind?
Knowledge deepens love. How much more might you love God if you would invest the time to know him more?
2. You can’t obey what you don’t understand.
“Why?” It’s one of the most important questions we could ever ask, especially as it relates to how we act.
Growing up, much to my parents’ dismay, I would constantly ask, “Why?” And, I should be clear, this was not the toddler “why stage” sort of why. I’m talking into middle and high school, I demanded an answer to “Why?” before I would do anything they asked.
In part, that’s pretty disrespectful, isn’t it? At least, it was the way I went about it. A good child obeys no matter what, and even though I would still (usually) do what they said, I would demand an answer to “Why?”
I just cannot stand doing something without knowing why I’m doing it, especially when I am having to do something someone else told me to do.
This is not an excuse for disobedience though, especially when it comes to the commands God has given us. Often, like when I was a kid, not knowing why we must obey is a stumbling block to our obedience. The good news is this: we can know why we must obey without God audibly telling us from the heavens.
How much more might you love God if you would invest the time to know him more?
When you truly know God and love him with your mind, as the Bible says we should, it’s easier to do what God says. You know that, even though obedience is hard and uncomfortable at times, it’s what’s best for you.
Knowledge enables obedience. How much more might you be willing to obey God if you actually understood who he is and why he commands you to obey?
3. You can’t share what you don’t understand.
The final mission Jesus gives the 12 disciples, and by extension, all of us is this:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
How on earth are we to take the gospel to the nations, sharing it with people in order to make disciples, if we don’t know what we’re sharing in the first place?
If we don’t love God with our minds, it makes it difficult to share him with others. The feelings we have about God mean less to others than the truths we know about God.
The truth of God is more powerful than our feelings about him. Our feelings come and go. Sometimes we don’t love God with our hearts. Sometimes God is in the “doghouse.”
Yet, God remains the same; he never changes. The truth of God is a more powerful testimony than our feelings about him.
If we are to live for our purpose, we must deeply know the One who gave us that purpose.
Knowledge supports evangelism. How much more might you share the gospel with the people around you if you had a better understanding of the God who saves you?
Knowledge deepens love.
Knowledge enables obedience.
Knowledge supports evangelism.
There is no person, object, or field of study as worthy of our brain power as the God of the universe.
It’s about time Millennial evangelicals start loving the God who created them more than a god they’ve created.
This post was originally published on millennialevangelical.com