One morning, Jonathan and I drove to the Bass Pro shop in Atlanta. On the way we listened to John Piper’s sermon “The Pastor as Theologian“, a sermon on the life of Jonathan Edwards. At the end of the sermon, Piper quotes Edwards:
So God glorifies Himself toward the creatures in two ways: 1. By appearing to . . . their understanding. 2. In communicating Himself to their hearts, and in their rejoicing and delighting in, and enjoying, the manifestations which He makes of Himself. . . . God is glorified not only by His glory’s being seen, but by its being rejoiced in. When those that see it delight in it, God is more glorified than if they only see it. His glory is then received by the whole soul, both by the understanding and by the heart. (emphasis mine) (The Philosophy of Jonathan Edwards, Harvey G. Townsend, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press Publishers, 1955, Miscellanies, #448, p. 133; see also #87, p. 128, and #332, p. 130 and #679, p. 138)
As I listened to the quote, I realized that this is exactly the way I have always viewed the abundant life promised by Jesus in John 10:10. It is a deep desire of my heart to walk with Christ both by pursuing the knowledge of God with all of my intellect, and by experiencing the true emotional delight of knowing him personally.
I have struggled for most of my Christian walk, because the church tends to fall into two categories: those for whom life in Christ is purely emotional, to the abandonment of all intellectual pursuit; and those for whom life in Christ is a purely intellectual pursuit, to the abandonment of all emotional involvement. But as this quote from Jonathan Edwards points out, neither “ditch” is the abundant life Jesus offers us as believers.
Unbelievers (those without the sealing and indwelling of the Holy Spirit) are capable of either studying about God through their intellect, or creating some sort of emotion based “religious feeling.” But only believers can actually know God personally. Through this our intellect is informed by the feelings that come from personal knowledge, and our feelings are informed by what we know to be true of God from our intellectual study of his direct revelation through scripture. So I think that the abundant life is the ability to walk that line that encompasses both the intellectual and emotional delights of God. This is why the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, and mind.
More than my pregnancy, my personal life, and the other things I blog about, I want this blog to reflect both my intellectual pursuits of knowing about God, and the emotional worship that comes from knowing God.