Text: Proverbs 2:1-10
Loving God with All Your Mind (Sermon Manuscript)
Wisdom is not achieved through our own capabilities or the years that we lived and experienced life in this world. But rather, wisdom is given to us by God (verse 6) and placed into our hearts (verse 10). Remember that wisdom is not merely knowing what to do but related to flourishment or towards the wholeness of one’s personhood.
In our work, e-mail, LMS, online systems, and payrolls are essential. In schools, online classes, submission of assignments, and resources are all through the Internet. Even in our church, nowadays, live streaming, zoom conference call, and even giving of tithes are all possible because of the digital technology. Indeed, there are lots of benefits that digitality has given to us.
But, also, because of the digital age of information—the access to Uncle Google (everything is answerable), to Auntie Amazon (everything can be found here), and to “Hey, Siri” or “Alexa,” people tend to become “Anti-intellectuals.”
Anti-intellectualism is a simple sense is accepting whatever is taught to you without being critical about it. This mere attitude is a result of slothfulness and mediocrity. Just like how the “lemmings” follow others because that is the trend. Not even thinking why the person is running. Or a purposeless pursuit of something without any critical reason at all.
Sadly, anti-intellectualism leads to pragmatism and subjectivism or relativism which are both saying that “thinking” is essential but only if it is servant to our desires or if it is only helpful to our personal agenda. Pragmatism says that this works because it worked before, and to others. So, we apply things not because we studied them but because we just conform to what others are doing. Again, the same with the lemmings and the dogs.
While relativism is post-modern thinking where all truth is subjective or relative. What you say may be true to yourself, but untrue to others. You may think that it is right, but for others this is wrong. That is why it is difficult to communicate the gospel of Christ nowadays because of this working knowledge.
But the Bible calls us to think critically and to know deeper, opposing all the characteristics and philosophical ideas that we just talked about a while ago. “To know” and “to fear” God are both pointing to the purpose of our life, to knowing God. To know God through thinking is to glorify God. In Matthew 22:36-37, “‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’”
Returning to our passage, this knowledge or wisdom in the book of Proverbs is later known as the Lady Wisdom in the whole context of the book. Wisdom is God’s gift to the world and an act of His general revelation to all people. It speaks and points to God’s glory. But ultimately, its goal is to lead us in knowing God.
Gnosis or epignnosis literally means knowledge or knowing something. But it is more of an experiential knowledge not just informational. In Biblical context, knowledge is not mere information inside our head, but rather it is something that we know out of first-hand experience or cause by having a direct relationship to the object.
Truly, to know God is to have experienced Him. Having the knowledge of God is not knowing God in our minds, but also experiencing Him wholly in our life. Hence, the verses in Prov 2:7-10.
The “fear” pertains to the reverence, holiness of God. Not something scary or wrathful of God’s nature. But for us to comprehend the goodness of God and His grace to us. It is not the “boo” or the expression we shout if we want to scare someone, but it is a “peek-a-boo” too little children if we want to make them smile. This kind of fear gives us comfort, peace, and knowledge that this person playing or giving time to me is someone who loves me.
So, here, in verses 1-4, it calls us to (1) receive His words by making our ears attentive to Him, (2) treasuring His commandments by inclining our hearts to Him, and (3) desiring His words like silver or hidden treasure.
Finally, the ultimate goal of “knowing” and “thinking” is to know the truth—the absolute truth. For us to be sanctified by the truth through His word of truth (John 17:17) because it is through knowing the truth that truth sets us free (John 8:32). Truly, this truth, the absolute truth is personified in Christ the only Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6).
by Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
April 18, 2021
*This section is an excerpt only; download the full manuscript here.