Sunday, August 9, 2009

Passionate Devotion

To be devotional with and in the Scriptures involves both the emotions and the intellect. Too many modern "devotionals" are merely shallow, emotional dribble. You may like chicken soup for the Christian soul. Wonderful. Please keep it to yourself over in the shallow end of the pool. I find it, frankly, annoying because it is shallow and, therefore, insulting. If we really want to have meaning to our devotional life we must go deeper.

The more we understand of the Scriptures, the more we understand about God. The more we understand about God, the greater our fear, awe, and need of him becomes. You may say you love Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors, but if you've never been inside and spent quality time enjoying each and every flavor, how much do you really love it? Maybe the truth is more like, "I like the vanilla that they sell at Baskin Robbins, but I don't really need to get into all those complicated flavors. Just give me the vanilla, thank-you."

We are too easily satisfied.

Most modern Christians think they know the Bible. They don't. I know this because I have spent thirty years passionately studying it and the more I learn the more I realize how much I do not yet know. Don't think that just because you know almost as much as your pastor that this makes you pretty knowledgeable and pretty much an elite. The truth is, your pastor is probably pretty ignorant himself, to the shame of us all.

I'm not knocking pastors. Certainly there are many who know a great deal, many who know a great deal more than I do. But, sadly, in our day they are the exception and not the rule. "My people perish for lack of knowledge" could have been written last week, or last month, or last year.

We need to know God, and if we are to know him it will involve the intellect as well as the emotions. We do not study God as a scientist might study the movement of molecular particles. We study him with zeal and passion and eager, emotional interest. Our hearts, our souls, our future, our joy is at stake. We want to know Him and we will never know Him without knowing his Word. But let us not forget that we must study Him if we are to know Him. We cannot divorce the intellect from our devotion.

So let us dive into his Word with a lust and a reverence like never before. Let us pore over it like Indiana Jones might pore over a map leading to an ancient Inca treasure city. And when we're done may we have a greater fear, and awe, and love, for God, and may we be able to say that we find our satisfaction in Him.


mxross said...

There is truth in what you say. Who could argue the value of our intellect in knowing God, but to truly know God, to be cognizant. Will require more than intellect. I would argue, respectfully. That it is with you're heart, guided by the word of God that we come into a greater knowledge of God. In Jeremiah 31:32,33 God spoke of the new covenant in which he would write his law in our hearts and we would all know him from the least to the greatest.
This would suggest that Gods people would have the same capacity to know God and do His will for there lives. Regardless of there intellectual prowess. That gives hope to us all.
You seem to lack patience with and take offense to those at the shallow end of the pool. Proverbs 19:11 should give hope to you.

Friar Rick said...

I only have impatience with those who are content to remain at the shallow end. We all start there, but as the author of Hebrews exhorts his readers, we must leave the elementary and follow on to maturity.

Surely you are correct in asserting the importance of the heart in spiritual matters. I chose to emphasize the intellect because it seems to me that in our age this is the part that is lacking. There must be balance. So, I assume that there is a heart for God in anyone who would read devotional literature for sincere reasons. I meant to provoke those toward loving the LORD their God with all of their minds as well.

Thank-you for your comment.