Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge. (Proverbs 18:15)
Relate: I don’t remember exactly what the conversation was about. Honestly, I don’t think I was even there for most of it. I had just made my way through the lunch line at one of the cafeterias at SUNY Binghamton and two of my friends were engrossed in a conversation that was still barely on the friendly side of becoming heated. The guy said something along the lines of, “You don’t really believe that, do you?” His female counterpart replied, “I try to keep an open mind about it.” He shook his head in mock disbelief and said smugly, “The problem with having an open mind is that everything keeps falling out.” She turned to him and responded deadpan, “The problem with being so close minded is that nothing ever gets in.” Another friend spilled the water he was drinking in surprised laughter. Now the entire table found themselves joining in. Game. Set. Match. That debate went to the fairer sex.
React: Excuse me for getting on a soapbox for a minute. There are two phrases I wish I could bury in a deep grave and never hear ever again. The first one is when someone holds up a Bible and says, “This book is the only book I ever need to read.” Every time I hear that nonsense, I say inside, “If that’s the case, I can guarantee you aren’t reading it very accurately.”
The second phrase I cannot stand is, “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” I do understand the sentiment here, but that sentiment can be better expressed more simply: “God said it. That settles it.” If we are talking about the authority and power of God, then we should take ourselves right out of the equation. On the other hand, if we are talking about faith and belief, then that doesn’t settle it. I want to know so much more. What exactly did He say? To whom? When? What is the historical context? How do others from other languages and contexts interpret what He said in their social setting? What do wise and godly men and women who have come before us have to say about what He said? What are some creative and possibly unexplored ways I can live out what He has said in my social milieu? After I have explored all of this, I want to be about the doing it. Complete obedience isn’t a settled issue until I have gone to the grave or He has come in the clouds. That is what settles it.
Following God doesn’t mean we shut off our brains. The very opposite. God has given us creativity and intelligence and reason. Let us use it to His glory. He has created an amazing and wonderfully complex world. Let us explore it. He has made us social beings and set us in a community. Let us engage with others as they explore and express the creativity, intelligence, reason God has given them. Living a close-minded life is both disobedient and dishonoring to God. Worship Him by using that noggin He has gifted you with.
I want to know You more. I want to know more about what You have created. I want to use and express the creativity that You have gifted me with. I am so thankful that You have revealed Yourself to us. I am thankful that You have made this beautiful universe for us to discover and explore. I am thankful that You are the creator and source of our intelligence. Help me to use it for Your glory.