Note, however, that all of the mind’s antipathy toward God is not eliminated the minute we’re born again. After regeneration, for the first time in our lives, we are disposed to the things of God rather than against them. We are given a desire to have God in our thinking rather than despising the idea of having God in our thinking. But the residual effects and the power of our fallen human condition remain and are not eliminated entirely until we’re glorified in heaven. The whole pilgrimage of the Christian life in our sanctification, then, is one in which we are seeking to love God more and more with our minds.
Jonathan Edwards once said that seeking after God is the main business of the Christian. And how do we seek after God? By pursuing the renewal of our minds. We don’t get the love of God from a hip replacement, a knee replacement, or even a heart transplant. The only way we can be transformed is with a renewed mind (Rom. 12:1–2). A renewed mind results from diligently pursuing the knowledge of God. If we despise doctrine, if we despise knowledge, that probably indicates that we’re still in that fallen condition where we don’t want God in our thinking. True Christians want God to dominate their thinking and to fill their minds with ideas of Himself.
Isn’t it strange that our Lord says that we are called to love God with our minds? We don’t usually speak of love in terms of an intellectual activity. In fact, most of our understanding of love in our secular culture is described in passive categories. We speak not of jumping in love but falling in love, like it was an accident.
But real love is not an involuntary thing. It is something we do purposefully based on our knowledge of the person we love. Nothing can be in the heart that is not first in the mind. And if we want to have an experience of God directly where we bypass the mind, we’re on a fool’s errand. It can’t happen. We might increase emotion, entertainment, or excitement, but we’re not going to increase the love of God because we can’t love what we don’t know. A mindless Christianity is no Christianity at all.
If we want to love God more, we have to know Him more deeply. And the more we search the Scriptures, and the more we focus our minds’ attention on who God is and what He does, the more we understand just a tiny little bit more about Him and the more our souls break out in flame. We have a greater ardor to honor Him. The more we understand God with our minds, the more we love Him with our minds.
To love God with our minds is to hold Him in high esteem, to think about Him with reverence and with adoration. The more we love God with our minds, the more we’ll be driven to do that other thing that is alien to us in our fallen condition, namely, to worship Him. To pursue God with our minds simply for intellectual enjoyment and without the ultimate purpose of loving and worshiping Him is to miss what it means to love Him with our minds. True knowledge of God always bears fruit in greater love for God and a greater desire to praise Him. The more we know Him, the more glorious He will appear to us. And the more glorious He appears to us, the more inclined we will be to praise Him, to honor Him, to worship Him, and to obey Him.