Today’s blog post was inspired after a recent vibrant and lively meeting of our men’s small group. We talk about serious truths of the Lord — but we also joke and tease each other as love grows amongst us as brothers .
Heart or brain ? Love or truth ? Which one drives you ?
Here’s how I lean : I appreciate how much the gospel contains good ideas and concepts and doctrine. It’s truth. But I face a danger : even though truth is the most important part of what the gospel is, it’s easy for me to slide into making truth expand into being all that the gospel is. Then, the gospel is reduced to being only a list of propositions to believe or a set of rules governing behavior. That’s rather cold, isn’t it ?
Other folks lean the opposite way. They are awed by and overwhelmed by God’s love, and filled with enormous compassion. They say, “The only law is the law of love.” But then they can slide into making love all that the gospel is. When this happens, just about any action is OK if it “feels like” love.
So, how can we join heart and mind, truth and love, together properly ? I think Isaiah gives us an idea.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8)
In this passage Isaiah volunteers after seeing a vision of God and his holiness. I don’t think you would ask Isaiah whether he was driven by his head or his heart. No, his experience of God had both ; it was a call on Isaiah’s total being.
Isaiah received coal on his lips to symbolize his purification from sin ; and for us Jesus’ death on the cross purifies us. Due to this cleansing, we are able to push forward on Jesus’ mission : Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. (Ephesians 4:13).
See how Jesus blends truth and love together ? We humans like to organize everything in life into little compartments —including the Lord himself ! But our God is not compartmentalized. We can’t split out either love or truth from the grand totality of who God is. Our powerful encounter with the Lord Jesus drives us to serve him fully with heart and brain !