Is Christianity an Intellectual Pursuit?

In describing my relationship with Jesus with others, especially, skeptics or non-Christians, I am often careful to point out that Christianity isn’t solely an intellectual pursuit. I want them to understand that being called by God is deeper than what can be reasoned by the mind. I wonder if I am doing them and myself a disservice. Is it possible that in addition to the spiritual/faith aspect of our relationship with God that our relationship with Him is also fully intellectual? Check out 1 Peter 1:13-16,

13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

I really dig this teaching by Peter. What he his telling us is that when God calls us into relationship with Him some things have to be re-arranged not only in our spirit but also in our minds. He is exhorting us to intellectually grab hold of what has happened in our spirit and apply it not only to our thinking but also to our actions. He says to “sober-minded”. The idea here is our relationship with God is serious business and it should not be treated lightly. He is telling us to think about it, that before God chose to save each of us we were all destined to die in our sins, eternally separated from Him. He is challenging us to think about Jesus bloodied, nailed to the cross, brutally dying so that we might live.  He challenges us to action. In verse 14, he tells us not to be ignorant as we once were. We should think about what it means that God reached into time and chose each of us individually to have relationship with Him and we should respond by not living our lives like we did before He saved us. Verse 15 drives it home, “but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct”.

How do we walk out being holy in all our conduct? We have acknowledge first off that the Holy Spirit dwelling in us is making us holy, yet, there is a very real tension between our flesh and the Spirit. I am convinced that we can resist the Spirit to the point where we are rebelling against His work in us. I think that is where the mind comes in. We have to pursue holiness intellectually. That is what Peter is ultimately saying to me in this passage. I need to focus on holiness in my mind and not on the worldliness of my previous existence and as I think and ponder and meditate on the work that God has done by saving me and adopting me into the Kingdom the more I realize God’s holiness and the path to emulate that holiness becomes clearer and easier to conform to. If however, my intellectual pursuits are increasingly more worldly then I run the risk of emulating a life which is counter to the holiness of God.

Sometimes I forget the goal is to be conformed to the image of Jesus not only in the life to come but in this life now. That image is perfect and holy. The redeemed mind is one tool God has given us to work on that transformation. Think about it.

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