Spirit and Intellect [Part 1]
Are you ready for some good news?
When you are filled with the Spirit, you don’t lose your mind! In fact, the Spirit always heightens the intellect.
Today’s text: “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:14–16, ESV)
Many years ago, I began hungering for a deeper sense of the tangible presence of God’s Spirit in my life. I chuckle to admit it now, but I vividly remember worrying if I were to “surrender” to the Spirit, that I would have to throw away my mind. I’ve since learned that I wasn’t alone in that concern.
Some people are moved to Christ through a thoughtful, meditative process of the Spirit revealing truth to the intellect. Others come to Christ by glorious interventions from the Spirit. It matters not how you come.
Over two decades ago, when I began ministry at Reynolda Church as a young man, I immediately discovered a sub-surface tension in the congregation between those who valued charismatic experiences of the Spirit and those who valued deep thought in the Word. Some hoped that I would lead the church toward much more freedom in the Spirit with plenty of expressions of the gifts of the Spirit while others hoped that I would lead the church in a diligent commitment to meditation in the Word.
It was Christmas time and, as I was preparing to teach one Wednesday night, the Lord showed me something beautiful in the Christmas stories that settled much of the tension in the congregation. I noticed how differently the shepherds and magi came to Christ. The shepherds experienced a sudden, supernatural visitation and, with haste, they ran to find the babe. The magi, on the other hand, were quite thoughtful. Because they were students of the skies they saw something in the heavens that no one else saw. Their trip was long, methodical and meditative. Exuberant shepherds and contemplative scholars both visited the young Christ.
I realized that I had come into a church (like all churches) that had some shepherds and some magi. I realized that God deliberately drew the shepherds in one way and the magi in another. In the end, it doesn’t matter whether you come to Christ by a supernatural moment of glory or a thoughtful process. God just wants you near.
When you realize that the Holy Spirit doesn’t shut off the mind but, instead, brings clarity to the intellect, you can surrender to Him without fear. And that’s the Gospel!
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