Among them was this simple phrase. “Great thoughts come from the heart.”
Throughout history a battle has raged between what we might call “thinkers and feelers,” between those who believe the mind is the final arbiter of truth and those who believe there are other ways of knowing.
The Christian faith does not ask us to choose between the two. There is a reasonability to our faith, and truth must be pursued through every human capacity including the mind.
But humans are not just mind, we are spirit and those who would know God must pursue God with the full range of our capacities.
To today’s rationalist “great thoughts come from the heart” is an anomaly; to the spiritual seeker it is a lifeline.
There are different ways of knowing. The prophet Jeremiah declared, “This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.”
Jesus adds, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
A.W. Tozer was a self-taught but was also a learned man with great intellectual capacity. But he also knew following Jesus required more than an intellectual acuity.
“The most brilliant intellect may be imbecilic when confronted with the mysteries of God. For a man to understand revealed truth requires an act of God equal to the original act which inspired the text….The inability of human reason as an organ of divine knowledge arises not from its own weakness but from its unfittedness for the task by its own nature. It was not given as an organ by which to know God.”
A God we could fully understand would be no God at all as God revealed through the prophet Isaiah, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
It seems an inescapable fact that God is approachable intellectually, but not knowable through intellect alone.
I performed a wedding this weekend of a wonderful couple I love deeply. What always amazes me when I stand in front of a young couple is the leap of faith required to make a life commitment to another person. Though every newlywed couple knows each other, that knowledge is always incomplete, and because opposites usually attract, the decision to marry is not strictly an intellectual one.
What is the basis of their decision? Love. Intuition. Attraction. An intangible something. Longing.
The seeker after God, even a child, has questions that may or may not be answered or answerable intellectually, but for the seeker who finds God, reason will be a guidepost, but a relationship with God and knowing God will require more then the intellect alone, because “Great thoughts come from the heart.”
You who would experience God must pursue God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind.