Monday, February 20, 2017

A Renewed Spiritual Intellect

You can have a developed intellect, but not a renewed mind. The opposite is also true.

I have talked with kind and wonderful people in the Church who have never allowed their intellect to be developed. They parked on the first step of revelation thinking it was a destination. Some rally around this misunderstanding thinking it is somehow spiritual and that anyone outside their limited understanding is suspect. 

I have met highly developed intellects possessed by notable academics who think their accumulated and shared data is the final destination of developed thinking.  This narrow understanding limits them from receiving instruction from those they see as living on a lower rung of intellectual development.

We actually need both ends of the spectrum. This is not an either-or scenario. This is why Paul used the phrase, “the renewing of your mind” when he wrote to the Romans. Paul linked the renewing of our minds to our ability to be transformed while living in a world that demands conformity in thought and lifestyle. No matter where one falls on the intellectual graph, we need our minds renewed and our intellects developed.

This is why I think God chose Paul to write so much of the New Testament. In Paul, God gave us the extreme bookends in the issue. Paul was highly educated – the equivalent of a modern day Ph.D. On the road to Damascus, he was taken past the limits of his intellect when he experienced a supernatural encounter with Jesus. In that encounter, Paul's intellect was temporarily blinded so he could see Jesus. He would later write about things not available to the limited line of sight of his advanced education. These were the experiences where he described the Third Heaven, strange manifestations of the miraculous like placing handkerchiefs on sick and demon possessed people who were suddenly healed and set free or when he shook a poisonous snake from his hand on the island of Malta and lived to tell about it.

While all of this was going on with Paul a band of early disciples stood before the well-educated class of their day. When the elites interrogated the band of rag-tag disciples they commented, “ Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.” Both Paul and the disciples had an encounter with Jesus. That was a mutually shared starting point for the renewal of their minds and the process of personal transformation.

The coming revival, reformation or visitation – no matter how you chose to define it – will begin like it did throughout Scripture and history. An encounter with Jesus will take place that will cause us to think differently about our assumptions.  Our assumptions are created by either our misunderstanding of what it means to have a renewed mind or by an over-estimated value of education without the renewing presence of God’s Spirit. We need both if we are going to move forward as the Church.

No comments:

Post a Comment