Human Logic vs. Spiritual Wisdom: How God Changes Our Hearts
by Kelly-Jayne McGlynn
Proverbs 3:5-6 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on our own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Ah, my own understanding… How I love thee. So limited, and yet seemingly so inviting to lean on as I attempt to take charge of my own repentance.
When I was in college, I double-majored in English and Philosophy. Every paper I wrote--and there were a lot of them--would end in a clear conclusion neatly supported by every line of the rest of my argument. I could always back up my opinion in class. I even used to do Logic homework problems for fun. The truth is, I love my brain.
What God has been teaching me recently, though, is that when it comes to matters of my heart, I cannot rely on my own brain… even if my brain is telling me the truth.
Even when our ‘own understanding’ is based on Scripture, and the step-by-step process of repentance is clear in our minds—it is still the hand of God that we must rely on transform our hearts. In all our ways we must submit to him, because he will be the one to make our paths straight!
Last week, I was on the phone with one of my Moms-in-the-Faith. You know, the type of woman in your life who knows how to ask you just the right question. I was expressing frustration to her about a situation with my friend, who is a new follower of Christ. As her sister, I had been trying to get her to fully understand an aspect of her life in which in order to please God, she would have to give something up. I was frustrated because to me, it seemed so simple.
The scriptures about it were right there. As I would have done in Philosophy class, I had stated Premise 1, then Premise 2, which led to the Conclusion. Boom. Why wasn’t she getting it?
But my Spiritual Mom reminded me, “Kelly-Jayne…sometimes it isn’t that easy. If [last year] someone had tried to get you to fully believe in God’s love and protection for you that same way, would that have been helpful? Would that have really convinced you?” She, of course, was right.
You see, two years ago, my apartment was broken into in the middle of the night. It was very difficult for me to trust in God’s protection following that. Nearly impossible, really. At that time, when I would read scriptures about God’s protection, they just felt hollow and untrue. If anyone shared one with me, I typically just became angry instead of encouraged. It took months and months of prayer, experience, and God changing my heart for me to actually believe in that truth.
Even if someone had blatantly stated “Read Psalm 91:9-10. Premise 1: The Lord is your refuge. Premise 2: The Bible says that if the Lord is our refuge, no harm will overtake us. Conclusion: God protected you that night from harm--whether or not you think so,” that would not have been helpful to my heart. At all. Instead, what really changed my heart was sitting at God’s feet, hearing his voice through the scriptures.
Jesus reminds us of this in John 5:39: “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!” (NLT). Jacob physically wrestled with God. David struggled in prayer. He begged God to create in him a pure heart, instead of trying to logically think his way there. These men submitted their ways to God—which was really an invitation to see him face-to-face. And God blessed them for it.
Sometimes we want a quick fix with Devotionals. We want to Google a scripture, write it on a post-it, and magically have our hearts renewed. We want a change of heart, and in our fast-paced society, we want it now.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe that there is power in the word of God. But if we rely on our own brains to make ourselves accept the truth found in Scriptures, we miss out on the chance to truly meet with God!
God invites us to rest on his power, not our own. Even when our understanding is based on truth, God calls us to lean on his understanding, to walk with him, to sit as his feet. Today, as you read his powerful word, seek God through his scriptures and not just solutions. Hear his voice speaking to your heart.
Intersecting Faith and Life: I encourage you to listen to this song, a cover of “Nothing I Hold Onto” by United Pursuit, as you meditate on the ways you desire God to change your heart. What area of your life is God calling you to surrender to his understanding over your own? What mountain is God asking you to climb, and how can you do so with your hands wide open, as the song mentions? Hear God’s voice today over your own human logic.