Greater Minds and Hearts
“...that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height; to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17 -19).
WHY SHOULD WE DESIRE TO HAVE GREATER POWERS OF COMPREHENSION? Most of us do have such a desire. We’d like to have our hearts and minds enlarged. And a greater capacity for understanding is a worthy aspiration. But to what use would we put such a gift? Why do we wish for it? The human mind is a vessel meant to be filled with God. But the sin which alienates us from God shrivels our mind, shrinking its capacity for understanding the knowledge of God. If we seek deliverance from sin, one of the greatest reasons for doing so is that we long to have a heart that can know more of God.
What we do with our minds would often have to be described as “prostitution.” We take an instrument made for God’s glory and we misuse it pursuing things of far less value, things which are often not only unworthy of our minds, but also quite selfish. But when we aren’t actually prostituting our minds, we’re often guilty of simply neglecting them. We don’t really apply ourselves to the work of learning about God, and so the spiritual insight that we have begins to atrophy. Perhaps we need to hear Paul’s admonition to Timothy: “Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them” (1 Timothy 4:15).
In Ephesians 3:17-19, Paul prayed that his brethren might gain a greater ability to comprehend spiritual realities. His desire was that they might “know the love of Christ which passes knowledge” and “be filled with all the fullness of God.” We have a desperate need to know the God who has made us and loved us. Because we need to know more of Him than we can know with our present limitations, we need to have greater minds and hearts. And since the highest use of our mind is to know God, the ability to know God more fully and glorify Him more properly is the noblest goal to which our intellect can aspire.
“O God, light of the minds that see you, life of the souls that love you, and strength of the souls that seek you, enlarge my mind and raise the vision of my heart, that, with swift wings of thought, my spirit may reach you, the eternal wisdom, you who live from everlasting to everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen” (Augustine of Hippo).