“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep . . . The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:11,12).
THE HEART CAN FULLY LOVE GOD ONLY WHEN THE MIND IS TRULY AWAKE TO HIM. Contrary to much of popular spirituality, biblical spirituality celebrates the mind. The mind need not be quieted for the heart to assert itself. Indeed, since the heart follows the mind and our feelings flow from our thinking, the mind must not only be awake but truthfully informed about God if our heart is to have its proper response to Him. Authentic love for God requires accurate knowledge of God, and such knowledge will not come into our possession if our minds are not engaged.
Sad to say, however, many of us spend the greater part of our spiritual lives asleep. We don’t make the effort to concentrate on the critical issues that confront our souls. Our minds are not actively engaged with respect to God. As far as all the most important things are concerned, we simply sleepwalk through life. Years are lost in darkness and dullness.
Yet all is not lost. If honesty compels us to admit that we’ve not been as alert as we ought to be, it is urgent that we wake up. And the biblical injunction to wake up presumes that we can decide to do so. The Light necessary for our spiritual enlightenment is already shining (John 8:12; 1 John 2:8). It must be our choice, however, to “awake out of sleep” (Romans 13:11). Without such a decision on our part, the Light will have little significant effect on us. The old saying that there are “none so blind as those who will not see” reflects an important biblical truth (John 9:39–41).
So if we wish our hearts to be aroused to a fervent love of God, then our minds must be awake and aware. If Christianity is what we’re thinking about, there need be no conflict between love and knowledge. We must pay reverent attention to the truths by which God would stimulate our hearts. Since there is no being alive without being alert, it is time to shake off our stupor.
O sweet and loving God,
When I stay asleep too long,
Oblivious to all your many blessings,
Then, please, wake me up,
And sing to me your joyful song.
(Mechthild of Magdeburg)