formerly Department of Political Science
United States Air Force Academy
God is glorified not only in His glory 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. God made the world that He might communicate His glory and that it might be received both by the mind and heart.–Jonathan Edwards
I’ve recently discovered from Jonathan Edwards a major fault-line in my faith. My faith too often is cerebral, a matter of the head and not of the heart.
I see and understand, but I don’t savor and delight. As Edwards often illustrated, “there is a difference between having a rational judgment that honey is sweet and having a sense of its sweetness….just as there is a difference between having an opinion that God is holy and gracious and having a sense of the loveliness and beauty of that holiness and grace.”
Not Either Or – But Both And
Edwards constantly argues that true spiritual progress requires both the head and the heart. You can never opt for one or the other. You need both.
To see truth, you must savor it. To savor it, you must see it.
He compares the mind or understanding and the heart or delight with a fire in a cold winter cabin. By the light of the fire, you can read and understand what you are reading. But without the heat of the fire, you will not enjoy what you are reading or endure long in the apprehension of it.
You need both the light and the heat of the fire.
Sadly, I’ve discovered that my own walk with God has lots of light and little heat. I’m shivering in a bright light. I am a “mind full of opinions about God.” I see, but don’t savor. Fortunately, Edwards is helping me find my way to the heat. He’s awakening again my sense of taste.
First, I’m continually reminding myself that knowing something is true about God does not mean I love it or delight in it. Think for a minute about the holiness of God. I can know about holiness but not “delight in its loveliness and beauty.” If I delighted in it, I would desire it. So, recognizing this, I’m asking God to awaken desire, to create longing.
Second, I’m beginning to practice seeing “with the eyes of the heart.” Kyle Strobel’s book, Formed for the Glory of God: Learning from the Spiritual Practices of Jonathan Edwards, is really helping.
This Christmas break might be a good time to stoke the fire, so that it produces not just light but also heat.
Read Kyle Stobel’s book here.