Smart Christian. Sounds like an oxymoron, right?
Ask some people and they’d tell you it isn’t merely an oxymoron…
But an impossibility…
Using charged language like “gullible, closed-minded and stupid” to describe Christians.
But we have a rich history of smart people.
People like Augustine, Boethius, Aquinas, Anselm, Calvin, Luther and Jonathan Edwards.
Christians who struggled with and fought for the faith by using their God-given powers of the mind.
But there’s another reason why being a smart Christian is important: When we grow a mature mind, it helps us fight against the corruption of this world.
This is what Paul said about the topic:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
And what’s the best way to renew your mind? Here are seven suggestions.
1. Memorize Scripture
This is a perennial favorite. In fact, I can’t think of a better way to re-wire our minds than systematically filling it with the Word of God. Devour entire chapters. Even books. Here are 18 tricks to help you.
2. Read Through Your Bible Every Year
Next to memorizing scripture, reading through the Bible once a year is another good way to grow a mature Christian mind. Wanna go extreme? Read the Bible in 76 hours.
3. Earn a Fake Masters with Other Believers
Me, Don and a handful of others are going to master the Old Testament. We’re using Wave to communicate, online resources and a host of books. Lot of work ahead of us, but with this many guys holding each other accountable, we’ll be a whole lot more biblically smart than we were before we started.
4. Start a Secret Church
David Platt wondered: “If overseas believers are hungry enough for the Word to sit for 10-hour stretches studying it, would his own congregation?” Indeed, it was. How can you host your own secret church? Find a teacher, pick a topic, hustle together a group of believers and pour over the Word for hours on end.
5. Throw Yourself into Wild Evangelism
I don’t think we can ever seriously suggest that we have mature minds until we actually take what we learn into the dirty business of life. It’s not until our nice theologies collide with real life do we enter a new level of maturity. My 5-day trip to Mardi Grasopened up my eyes to serious flaws in my own mind. I re-negotiated a lot.
6. Invite an Atheist to Lunch
On the same vein with the above, sit down and talk to a non-believer. Make friends with them. Get to know them. And get to know yourself and what you believe. Heck, take some time and interview 10 atheists. Revelations are ample when you interact with non-believers. It forces you to go back to the Bible and evaluate what you know and what they know. A healthy event for your mind and heart.
7. Pray Every Morning for Thirty Minutes
We can’t grow mature minds unless we interact with the creator of that mind. Pray for wisdom like Solomon did. Pray for humility. Illumination.
Listen, we’re not after a wisdom of this age. No. We’re after the mind of Christ. We’re after that knowledge that transforms our new self into the image of our Creator.
That’s a smart Christian.
And here’s the trap I don’t want to fall into: Thinking our intellect is the end all be all.
Our minds are just as corrupted by the Fall as our emotions and will. Thus, in the end, the goal of suggestions like these is to bring our mind, emotions and will into obedience to the Word of God.
How do you renew your mind? Do you agree with all of my suggestions? Is there any you’d add? Or does this whole topic of “smart” Christians make your skin crawl? I look forward to hearing from you.