In the classic movie Dead Poets Society, a boarding-school student at an elite New England prep school receives a beautiful desk organizer set for his birthday from his emotionally distant parents. A friend asks why he looks so glum. The student frowns. “They gave me the same thing as last year.” He stands and throws it off a bridge.
God never intended for love to act in ignorance or blind emotion. The prep-school student’s parents likely loved their son with their hearts, but they didn’t love him enough with their minds to remember that they’d bought him the same gift two years running. Love—for it to be true love—always combines both the heart and the mind.
studying loved ones
Young couples in love become students of each other’s personalities and preferences. Men who have never before stepped into a flower shop or tried Korean food suddenly send bouquets of specially selected blooms and arrange dates at Korean barbecue restaurants. Women study up on sports or woodworking to better understand their boyfriend’s hobby. New parents spend hours studying every detail of their baby: counting toes and fingers, stroking hair, memorizing features. Friends get out of their comfort zone to try their best friend’s new dance class. In pure affection we have no trouble integrating our intellect, emotion, and will.
God says we should love Him like that. In both the Old and New Testaments, God reminds His people that He is worthy of all of their love: heart, mind, soul, and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37). He doesn’t just want blind affection; He wants us to be students of His character and His words.
It’s easier said than done.
One of the ways the world came apart when Adam and Eve sinned was in the fracturing of their humanity. Before the fall, they were made in the image of God and were perfectly balanced in intellect, emotion, and will. Afterward, the image-bearers were cracked mirrors and the curse prophesied their further fracturing as creatures divided not only interpersonally (against each other) but intra-personally (within themselves) (Genesis 3). The wounds we nurse as human beings are not just those inflicted by a cruel world and sinful people; they are the very fissures inherent in our sinful nature, fault lines always ready to drive us further and further out of balance with the people God created us to be in Him. In a very real sense, bringing our hearts, minds, and souls together in worship of God makes us more and more the people we will be forever in heaven.
healing our minds
Today, worship the One who understand that we are dust, who knows that we are broken, but who comes to us as the “sun of righteousness” with healing in its rays (Malachi 4:2). Jesus came to mend what was broken, to heal the sick, and to raise the dead (Matthew 9:35, John 11:21–27). That includes healing our broken, distracted minds and reversing our spiritual amnesia. He is able to give us the grace to discipline ourselves to become students of His person and His Word, so we can love Him with all our hearts, souls, and yes, our minds. Such full-orbed love brings with it memories of Eden, and it also gives a true foretaste of that day when we will worship Christ with fullness of joy in perfect freedom. Oh, happy day!