“Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” — Mark 12:29-30
In the past few posts, we’ve been looking at Jesus’s words in Mark 12. We’ve already touched on what it means to “love the Lord with all your heart (kardía)” and “with all your soul (psyché).” Today…
… love the Lord with all your mind …
Diánoia is the Greek word translated here as “mind.” This word corresponds fairly directly with the modern idea of mind: intellect, comprehension, understanding.
There are almost countless ways to love God with all our mind. Studying scripture, commentaries, history about biblical times. Delving into the millennia of Christian and Jewish theological writings, engaging in discussions with other Christians, seeking out people who have more experience or knowledge and learning from them. Taking classes. Exploring the science of nature or the human psyche, or even steeping ourselves in secular leadership tomes. We have many opportunities to deepen our understanding of God, and of ourselves.
Kenneth McFayden, author of Strategic Leadership for a Change, says this about Christ-following leaders who engage in these intellectual pursuits in a healthy way: “they believe that the behavioral sciences, leadership theories, and other secular resources contribute important perspectives for congregational leadership. Yet they assess these perspectives through the ‘eyes of faith,’ identify their contributions and limitations, and incorporate their best practices to strengthen ministry. Finally, they believe that leadership is learned. Whatever natural gifts they bring to ministry, they realize that there always is more to learn about leadership. They understand that learning to lead increases their capacity to serve.”
If kardía is the root of who we are, and psyché how the health of those roots is reflected in our interactions with the world, then diánoia is using our intellectual capacity to strengthen and push those roots ever deeper, ever broader, ever wider.
It is easy to see how these three words describing how we are to love God — kardía, psyché, and diánoia — complement and support each other. Together they create a virtuous cycle: learning more about who God is and our part in God’s creation, which in turn leads to a deeper understanding in our core of God’s love, which then results in our reaching out into the world out of the overflow of God’s love.
And that leaves us with the last of the list for tomorrow’s post: we are to love God with all our strength…
In what ways are you using your mind to love God?