It appears to me that the Lord gave us two important venues for input, the head and the heart. They are different, but both are important. Some would use the terms, mind and spirit. What I mean is that there are things God wants us to know that are absorbed through reasoning or understanding and there are things He wants us to know through feeling or intuition.
Because of our different backgrounds and demeanors, we often lean toward one or the other of these two ways of learning spiritual truth. Some people seemed geared toward gathering information for the mind. They read and study and discuss. Others seemed geared toward emotions and sensations. They try to feel whether something is true or good. And, even though both of these are affirmed by Scripture, one group believes its way is the only right way, while the other looks down on those who learn differently.
For example, God gave us the Bible to teach us important things and to encourage us in our walk. He also sent the Spirit to speak into our hearts. They are not the same, but they are both important. Unfortunately, some groups completely dismiss anything to do with the Spirit, or relegate the Spirit’s influence to something mysterious and dangerous. For them, it is the Bible only.
Other groups almost forget that there is a Bible. I am hearing more people say that the Bible is dull and has some difficult things and we don’t need it because we have the Spirit. For them it is the Spirit only.
But we forget that there are many spirits and some desire to deceive us. How is the heart able to choose which voice it welcomes? That’s one of the important functions of the Bible’s message to the mind. And the Bible becomes either a confusing mess or a tool for abuse in the hands of those not guided by the Spirit.
Here’s what I mean. The Bible is truly a love letter from God to us. It tells us how He designed us, what dangers confront us, and how to find our help in Him. It shows us examples and illustrations of what God wants us to know. But apart from the heart ministry of the Spirit, we find it very hard to see the love of God in the Bible. Love is communicated to the heart. If we push away the work of the Spirit, we will see only the judgment and anger of God when we read.
Sadly, that’s how the evil one has compromised the Scriptures in the lives of so many of God’s people. Because the Bible was misused and the love of God was missing, they learned to see it as something negative. It brought condemnation and fear and guilt and all kinds of what my kids used to call “bad thinks.” So these folks try to live on what the Lord speaks into their hearts.
But then they have another problem. How do they know whose voice they are hearing in their hearts? The evil one whispers his lies. Their own flesh provides its version of wisdom. How can they discern the voice of the Lord? Well, apart from the wisdom of the Bible, it is very difficult.
Now, don’t get me wrong. If I had to choose one of the two, I would always choose to be led by the Spirit. Always. Give me the personal relationship, the One I can talk with and listen for. But I don’t have to choose. I can listen to the Spirit and read the Scripture and each helps me see the truth and learn the wisdom of the other. My faith grows through my mind and my heart.
Just because the evil one has misused the Scripture by twisting it in the hands of those who will not listen to the Spirit does not mean that the Scripture is bad for us. God meant it for our good. His love is seen throughout the text. The problem is in the grid some use to present it and the grid in which we learned to see it. I have written several posts on this idea of the grid and you can find them beginning here.
Read the Bible, but pray first. Ask the Spirit to show you the love of God. Ask Him to push aside the old legalism, the source of shame and fear. Ask the Spirit to lead you into the truth you need. You will be surprised at the wonders you find.